“The process of obtaining a visa for India is now simpler, quicker and more affordable, which really opens the destination up for late bookings and the short breaks market,” comments Nikhil Chhibber, Western & Oriental’s India product manager.
“A flight to Delhi is less than an hour longer than a flight to New York and 90 minutes longer than a flight to Dubai. Both of those destinations are popular for short getaways and our new city breaks will enable India to viably compete as a vibrant and culture-rich option for the same market of spontaneous bookers.”
India is one of Western & Oriental’s top selling destinations and the company has added three new city breaks to boost its expansive portfolio of India trips. All are ideal for short sight-seeing or shopping breaks. Below are the suggested itineraries, but Western & Oriental will work with travel agents to offer tailor-made options for their clients.
· Delhi Weekend City Break – This five day/four night break includes accommodation at The Imperial Hotel, one of India’s best colonial hotels, which is ideally located for exploring the sights, sounds and flavours of the city. A chauffeur driven private car is included in the package price, so visitors can spread out their sightseeing. Options include visits to local markets, a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk or visiting an Indian family to learn about North Indian cooking.
· Mumbai Weekend City Break – Mumbai began as seven small islands inhabited by simple fishermen before becoming the economic powerhouse of India. Today, the glitz and glamour of Bollywood, fashion, design, museums, galleries, monuments and nightlife sit alongside the world of Slum Dog Millionaire and streets busy with dabba wallahs.
· Hyderabad Weekend City Break - Hyderabad, the City of Nizams, is steeped in rich culture, heritage and tradition. Today Hyderabad is home to one of the best cultural experiences and a perfect getaway for lovers of history and culture, food or even jewellery. Travellers have the option to enjoy a vintage car excursion to the monument and mosque of Charminar and relish in the flavours of traditional Hyerabadi biryanis.
The e-Tourist Visa
Introduced for British and Irish travellers on 15th August - India’s Independence Day – the new e-Tourist Visa service allows for applications to be made online a minimum of four days before travel. Previously, travellers were required to book an appointment at an application centre or apply by post, which typically took up to two weeks. The new e-Tourist Visa allows for entry at 16 designated airports within India, including the key gateways of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai which have direct flights from UK airports. From 15th August, UK and Irish travellers now pay US$60 – approximately £39 – for a tourist visa to India. Under the previous system, travellers were charged £89.44, so the cost has more than halved.