FRANCE will issue visas to Indian travellers within 48 hours of application starting from January 1, 2015, announced its foreign minister Laurent Fabius in Mumbai last week.
Travellers will no longer have to wait seven days for their visas, and the move is the latest attempt to enhance France’s image as a travel destination to Indian citizens.
France will also open visa application centres throughout India, beginning one for Kochi within the month.
Madhavan Menon, managing director of Thomas Cook India who was present at the meeting between Fabius and India’s tourism industry, said: “We applaud this strategic move on the part of the French government. Our research has highlighted the emergence of an impatient last-minute traveller and hence the launch of our 48-Hour Holidays product; the 48-hour processing time for a French visa makes it an amazing fit. We anticipate an increase not just from our leisure segment but equally, the business travellers and MICE segment.”
Rajeev Wagle, managing director of Kuoni India, added that it is a “great” move as visa acquisition is a "problem area”.
Meanwhile travel app Chalo Paris or Go Paris will be launched in September catering to the needs of the Indian traveller and containing information such as the location of Indian restaurants and prices in rupees, with more Indian languages to be added over time.