Easy visas drive up Indian meetings in China

The demand for business travel from India to China is on the rise due to China’s accommodating visa policies.

Previously, Indians planning to visit China had to schedule appointments at visa application service centres in India. However, as of last year, China eliminated this requirement, allowing Indians passport-holders to apply for visas on a walk-in basis.

Indians planning to visit China for meetings and events benefit from a streamlined process

Vishal Jairath, head of South Asia at VFS Global, which manages visa applications for China in India, noted: “We have observed a positive growth in business travel from India to China. Based on the visa application volumes we handled in 2023, China emerged as one of the top destinations for Indian travellers.”

To further streamline the visa application process, the Chinese government also waived the requirement for biometric enrolment for Indian travellers last year. According to the Chinese embassy in India, over 180,000 Chinese visas were issued to Indian citizens in 2023.

“Last year, we saw significant interest from Indian outbound business travellers to China, and I expect this demand to remain strong this year as well,” remarked Arun Anand, managing director, Midtown Travels.

Ravinder Kumar, managing director of Indian Legends Holidays, suggested that the Indian government should reciprocate by making it easier for Chinese travellers to visit India. Currently, Chinese citizens are required to schedule appointments for visa services.

Kumar added: “Many Chinese businessmen are keen on visiting India for exhibitions, but the Indian embassy and consulates are not issuing enough visas. This is detrimental to the Indian inbound tourism market, especially for Chinese-speaking guides in the country.”

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