The new visa norm by the UK is going to be major turn off for the Indian tourists. Experts believe that UK tourism should be prepared for zero Indian tourists if the government decides to go ahead with the new visa norms.
UK is trying to cut down the number of immigrants from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands. It has identified India as one of the 6 high risk countries. Therefore from now on, tourists from India will have to pay bond of £3000 which is equal to Rs 2.7 Lakh to get the visa.
This proposal has not been implemented yet but it is expected that UK government will implement the new rules from November. Because of this, now Indians will have to pay Rs 2.7 Lakh for 3 to 6 months visa.
Tour operators say it would turn away Indian tourists. Although the bond is totally refundable if you do not overstay your visit, still don't expect a lot of tourists, especially the budget tourists to shelve out so much money.
One furious tour operator said what is so special about UK that Indian tourists will be willing to pay the bond. When you have countries like Switzerland welcoming Indian tourists with open arms, I doubt any tourist will want to be labeled as high risk and travel to UK.
There is no news regarding how the money will be refunded. This is adding to the fears of the tourists. Already the visa fee has been tripled by the UK. Besides the exchange rates has made it quite expensive place to visit for the Indians.
Tour operators predict that arrivals to UK will drop by more than 60 per cent. Some are however hopeful and think that UK will only implement this bond of people who are going there with the intention of working and not on the tourists.
There is also a fear that being labeled as high risk is not going to go well with a lot of tourists who may otherwise have the money to pay the bond. Even these tourists may not travel to UK.
The news is also getting response from social media. On twitter several Indians have come out against the new visa rules. Some have even suggested that they will prefer to travel Uttarakhand, a state devastated by floods recently, over UK. This sentiment is also shared by several celebrities including tv actress Kavita Kaushik.