Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Travel to return to pre-pandemic levels in CY23: VFS Global

Travel will return to pre-pandemic levels in calendar 2023 while a complete recovery trend is expected to emerge by June-July itself, forecast VFS Global, a visa services specialist firm that helps global governments with diplomatic missions in 145 geographies.

“Visa application numbers for May-June-July will be a good indicator of recovery. We expect 2023 numbers to breach pre-pandemic numbers,’‘ Prabuddha Sen, Chief Operating Officer-South Asia, VFS Global said in an interview.

India recovered close to 80% of the pre-pandemic levels in 2022 with Hyderabad and Bengaluru leading the recovery ahead of national average at 95% and 93%, respectively, he explained.

According to Mr. Sen, the country witnessed unprecedented travel demand in 2022 which led to an extended peak outbound travel season with steady volumes witnessed until December.

“Revenge travel (leisure travel that follows a period of being unable to travel)  is still on. Then there is an extended peak season driven by a mix of festivals and student in-take mostly for U.S and Europe in August-September-October,’‘ he added.

Compared with the traditional restricted peak season, people were now travelling during extended seasons. In West and South, peak season is usually during April-May-June whereas it would be May-June-July in North and East.

“So, we have an additional peak season, a smaller peak, in August-September-October,’‘ Mr. Sen added.

Further elaborating on travel trends, he said VFS Global’s ‘Visa At Your Doorstep (VAYD)‘ service witnessed fivefold higher demand in 2022 compared with 2019. Also requests for premium lounge facilities have also seen an increase, he further said.

VFS Global currently has 19 offices in India and will be opening a temporary enrolment location in Mysore.

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