Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Visa on Arrival

We are very pleased to report that it has just been announced that the UK has been added to the list of countries that can obtain their Indian Tourist Visa on arrival.  The e-Tourist Visa (eTV) process will begin on 15 August 2015.  

The eTV fee at US$60 appears to be cheaper than the current system (UK£82 plus charges of £7.44 or more) but there are limitations eg it allows a maximum of 30 days in India and single entry only.  Also you must arrive into an Indian Airport that is set up to process the eTV – there are currently nine: Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Trivandrum with a further seven added from 15 August: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Gaya, Jaipur, Lucknow, Trichy, Varanasi.  Unfortunately Calicut is not on the list and this is an airport we regularly book for our customers.

Tourists can still get their visa in advance and for arrival into Calicut or holidays longer than 30 days some people will have to.  But for most people this announcement is good news – although you may find that it takes longer to get through immigration.
We will monitor the situation and update our Visa Advice as we learn more.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR is a new piece of legislation that has not yet hit the headlines.  From 1 October 2015 all businesses in Europe must offer their customers a method of resolving disputes without the need to go through the small claims courts which can be costly, time-consuming and stressful for both parties.  As ABTA members we already give our customers the option to use their arbitration service.  The good news is that ABTA’s ADR scheme has been approved by Trading Standards – in fact it is the first in the travel industry to be approved.

I am pleased to report that so far – since we launched this company in 1998 we have never had a complaint that we have not been able to resolve.  But it is good to know that ABTA have an approved scheme that we can offer our customers. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Now you can pay us in foreign currencies

We are pleased to advise our customers who live outside the UK that we have a new credit card terminal that means we can take payments in 36 of the most common foreign currencies.  Previously we took payments only in UK pounds and customers would not know until they received the statement from their credit card provider how much it cost.  Many of our customers (particularly those from the USA) were shocked by the exchange rate used by their credit card suppliers.  Our new terminal uses competitive rates updated daily and we can tell you the actual cost in your own currency at the time of payment.  So no nasty surprises when your credit card bill arrives. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Again we supplied the most bookings for CGH

We are delighted to report, for the second year running, Kerala Connections has provided the CGH Earth group of hotels (Coconut Lagoon, Marari Beach Resort, Spice Village etc) the most business in the Foreign Tour Operator leisure segment.  CGH get lots of business from us because we are happy to recommend their hotels to our customers because we know that they will enjoy the experience.  These customers then return from a good holiday and recommend us and the CGH Earth hotels to their friends.  All this activity means that we enjoy really good rates at these hotels so our customers also get great value for money as well. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Biometrics deferred until further notice

Further to my blogs about the changes to the Indian Visa process there is now more clarification to be found on the VFS Global website.  They confirm that the collection of ‘biometric data’ has been deferred until further notice but the scheduling of appointments is now mandatory.  Postal applications are still accepted – select ‘London’ as the mission and send to their Hounslow Centre (this is for all postal application no matter where in the UK you live). 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cocktails only available at 5 star hotels in Kerala

Just when we thought that the alcohol situation had been resolved – it has returned.  The latest news is that the Kerala Government have returned to the idea that only 5 star hotels should be allowed to serve a full range of alcohol.  This means that Heritage as well as 4 and 3 star hotels can only offer their customers wine and beer.  The hotel and tourist industries are again fighting this ruling and just in case we understand that there are a number of hotels applying for 5 star recognition

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Postal Applications Still Allowed

During the recent changes to the visa process it was stated that postal applications would no longer be possible.  However we have noticed on the High Commission’s website – FAQs that to the question – Can I submit a visa application through post/courier?  They answer – ‘Yes’.  They then say that this ‘will take longer (two weeks) and if there are any errors it would be returned.  To avoid such inconvenience, it is preferable to submit applications with appointment’.

Postal applications always did take longer and were returned if there were errors – so there does not seem much change to the system other than they would prefer people to make appointments.  They say you could select the London Mission but do not state which centre to send it to.  Prior to the new system all postal applications went to Hounslow.

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