Why UK-India travel is really taking off in 2023

Why UK-India travel is really taking off in 2023

Yummi Talwar from VFS Global, one of the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialists, shares insights on the UK-India travel sector – which she says is really taking off this year.

All signs indicate that 2023 will witness UK-India travel take off to new heights. According to a recent survey by flight booking service Kayak, travel to India in 2023 has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, growing by about 29 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. It has seen a spike in flight searches of about 48 per cent from the UK!

Why the sudden spike in interest? Post-pandemic, travel is on the rise. In Europe alone, VFS Global has recorded a 30 per cent per cent increase in application numbers since 2019.

Furthermore, Indian nationals accounted for the highest proportion (28 per cent) of visitor visas granted to the UK. More than 258,000 Indian nationals received visit visas in the year ending June 2022 – a 630 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

Upcoming mega international events like the G20 Summit, Men’s Hockey World Cup, and 2023 Cricket World Cup, have generated buzz in the South Asian country amongst sporting fans and political pundits alike.

A boom in flight routes and e-visa applications

All in all, such attention has become a great boon for Indian airline carriers who have embarked on new ventures to establish new routes from the UK to major Indian cities. Air India now arranges flights from London Gatwick to Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Goa, and Kochi and increased services from London Heathrow to New Delhi this year. While, Vistara carrier has added additional frequencies to its London services, operating six times a week

Increasing tourism has also led to a spike in e-visa applications. VFS Global has processed more than 200,000 e-visa applications globally between January and November 2022 and countries that have often enticed far-flung travellers are following suit. Exotic locales Thailand, India and Egypt are now among the key growth drivers of renewed travel.


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Stronger UK-India ties 

The higher education industry is also taking a lead in fostering stronger links between education and tourism. According to reports, India surpassed China to become the largest source of students for the UK with 161,000 students, including 33,240 dependents, coming to the UK last year. The British High Commission also revealed recently that it granted 127,000 student visas to Indians in the year ending September 2022, an increase of 273 per cent over the same period in 2019.

In addition, the newly launched Young Professionals Scheme will also increase its bilateral footprint. For two years, citizens of India and British nationals may travel to, a study in, or work in each other's countries.

It’s no wonder that the industry is seeing UK-India travel rise to new heights! This has led to the re-introduction of e-visa services, and optional Visa at Your Doorstep and Form Filling services for an efficient and quick turnaround.


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Yummi Talwar is COO – Europe & CIS, VFS Global, the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist, serving 67 sovereign governments worldwide. Yummi has worked for VFS Global for over 17 years and has successfully managed leadership roles in operations across several geographies including the Middle East and South Asia.

*Info: VFS Global/India

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