Tag Archives: Zubin Karkaria

‘eVisa On Arrival’ service goes live from February 14 for seamless entry into Thailand

The new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and convenient arrival into Thailand for travellers from India and 20 other countries, has become available for applicants from February 14, 2019. The eVOA service offers travellers a whole new experience when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports. The service is part of the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, and has been developed by the Immigration Bureau of Royal Thai Police and VFS Global. Of the over 1.5 million Indians who visited Thailand in 2018, over 900,000 used the old, time consuming Visa On Arrival service at Thailand airports. Commenting on the new eVOA service, Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival.” The new eVOA service offers travellers the conveniences of avoiding long queues, and eliminates the need to fill up application forms on arrival and arrange for paper documentation or local currency which travellers find challenging after a long flight. If there is an urgent visa requirement to travel to Thailand, travellers can also avail online the Express eVOA service for quicker processing. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group, said, “I am delighted that the …

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Thai immigration with VFS Global to introduce Thailand eVisa service from February 14, 2019

In line with the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, the Immigration Bureau of Thailand has partnered with VFS Global to offer the new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and more convenient arrival process for travellers from 21 countries like India, China, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, to name a few. Travellers who are eligible to use the online eVOA service provided by VFS Global will receive their travel authorisation from the Immigration Bureau of Thailand prior to their departure from their country of origin. The eVOA service will be available as of February 14, 2019 on thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com. The new Thailand eVisa On Arrival offers travellers a whole new experience when applying for a travel pre-authorisation to Thailand and when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports flying by Thai Airways and other airlines. In three simple steps, eligible travellers can apply online for eVOA for Thailand by visiting thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com anytime, anywhere or get assistance at VFS Global visa application centres across the globe. Travellers receive their pre-departure travel authorisation online before the trip within 24 to 72 hours. Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival, as …

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VFS Global appoints Jiten Vyas and Vinay Malhotra appointed to its Executive Board

VFS Global has appointed Jiten Vyas and Vinay Malhotra – both Regional Group COOs – as members of the company’s Executive Board. The Executive Board (EB), in collaboration with the Board of Directors, plays a pivotal role in the compamny’s strategic decision-making across various business verticals and its functions. The addition of  Vyas and Malhotra, with their respective vast individual career experiences, will further strengthen the EB to bring in the wider operational business perspective, in light of the company’s growth strategy. Vyas, a UK citizen, who joined the company in 2003 is responsible for all business operations in Africa (including Turkey), CIS and Eastern Europe, Europe and Americas and Australasia. Malhotra, an Indian citizen,  who joined the company in 2013 is responsible for all business operations in Middle East, South Asia and China. Both of them have handled various leadership responsibilities across geographies for the company, and are also responsible for the strengthening of key client government relationships. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global, commented, “We are proud to have dynamic and experienced leaders of the calibre of Jiten and Vinay, who have been instrumental to our global success in growing rapidly and serving now 62 client governments. As we further expand our scope of business, we look forward to having their considerable and combined expertise add value to matters of strategy and corporate development.”

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VFS Global signs visa service contracts with eight European governments

In August and September 2018, VFS Global signed eight contracts with existing and new client governments to extend their visa service network. As per the new contracts, VFS Global will now provide visa services for Belgium in Rwanda; Estonia in China, India, Belarus, Turkey, and Russia; Germany in China and 13 other countries in South East Asia; Hungary in India, Belarus, Kazakhstan; Italy in Bahrain and Ecuador; Lithuania in Ukraine; Slovenia in 13 countries (Australia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, Iran, Kosovo, Mexico, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA); and the Czech Republic in Vietnam, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. VFS Global plans to open an additional 97 visa application centres to meet the requirements of the new contracts and offers applicants a convenient and easy visa application process in these additional countries. The roll-out of all new operations is expected to be completed by mid-2019. Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group said, “VFS Global is grateful for the trust and goodwill the European member states have placed in us over the years. With the recent renewal of our relationship with eight European governments across multiple regions, we are pleased to offer our high quality visa services to many more visa applicants.” Chris Dix, Head–Business Development, VFS Global, said, “This has been a great quarter for VFS Global. Today, VFS Global is the trusted partner of 61 client governments, in large part due to our uncompromising approach to using technology as a key business driver.”

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VFS acquires visa service provider TT Services

VFS Global has completed the acquisition of visa service provider TT Services (TTS). The transaction enables VFS Global to leverage on core competences and brands and to further enhance operating performance. UK-based TTS is a provider of integrated visa processing solutions with global presence and a comprehensive portfolio of services. The company operates 51 application centres in more than 35 countries and has 216 employees and offers a range of visa services for its client governments, partners and applicants. Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global Group, says, “TT Services has, like VFS Global, extended industry experience of more than 15 years and is a trusted service delivery partner for its clients. I see a strong fit by TTS joining VFS Global. This will enable us to further enhance and extend our services towards our client governments and visa applicants.” The change of control will have no bearing on the business operations of the parties and act as a catalyst to improved services and enhanced client and customer satisfaction.

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Gulf Air appoints VFS Global to provide visa for Bahrain

Gulf Air has partnered with VFS Global to facilitate visa issuance for passengers flying to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The online visa facility will launch this summer on gulfair.com. Signing the agreement with VFS Global, Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer, Ahmed Janahi, said, “We are partnering with VFS Global to provide a much needed service to Gulf Air passengers that will support our national carrier’s longstanding efforts to promote the Kingdom as a destination to a broad spectrum of travellers while making the process of obtaining a visa to Bahrain easier and more convenient. Soon, Gulf Air passengers will be able to easily obtain short term visit visas to Bahrain via our website gulfair.com – allowing them to come to Bahrain and experience all that our Kingdom has to offer in terms of tourism, business opportunities and more.” Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group, says, “Integrating next-generation convenience into the traditional visa process lies at the heart of our services. We are pleased to synergise our efforts with Gulf Air and the Government of Bahrain to ensure greater flexibility and digital-friendly services for visitors to Bahrain, while maintaining the security requirements of the visa process. We believe the online e-visa platform will make visa application much more convenient for Gulf Air customers, providing them with greater speed and transparency in the process, thereby enhancing their overall experience.” Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, added, “Applying for an eVisa through our dedicated online platform, designed exclusively for Gulf Air passengers, will transform the visa application experience for passengers, offering more customer-centric services. Quicker turnaround times, 24X7 accessibility, and online tracking, amongst other advantages, …

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Now, apply for Chinese visa from Connaught Place

Making visa application facilities convenient for travellers, the Chinese Visa Application Centre was inaugurated at Shivaji Stadium metro station, Connaught Place, New Delhi by HE Lua Zhaohui, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to India; Wei Xiaodong, Vice Director-General, Service Bureau for the Foreign Ministry and its Overseas Missions of China; and Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group. Commenting on the launch, the Ambassador said, “This is going to facilitate tourism between the two countries even further. Both countries boast of a huge population and want a better two-way exchange of tourist arrival numbers.” Adding on, Zubin Karkaria stated, “We anticipate strong tourism growth between India and China and this spacious centre will enable us to cater to the rising demand for China visas and simultaneously enhance the applicant’s experience.” On the occasion, the very first ‘China in Luxury’ outlet was also launched in the centre where travellers can avail of premium packages on exclusive travel experiences.

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President of France bestows National Order of Merit on Zubin Karkaria

Zubin Karkaria, CEO – VFS Global, and CEO – Kuoni Group, was appointed ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite’ (Knight of the National Order of Merit) by the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, last week. The prestigious French award was conferred on Karkaria by H.E. Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, on behalf of President Hollande, at a ceremony in Mumbai. Karkaria, who has been a part of the travel industry for more than 25 years, established visa processing multinational VFS Global in 2001. In 2015, he became the first Asian to head the Switzerland headquartered Kuoni Group, VFS Global’s parent company. The distinction recognises his exemplary contributions in developing France as a tourist destination through leisure travel and the management of visa services across the world. Having pioneered the concept of visa process outsourcing in 2001 with the launch of VFS Global, Karkaria has contributed to the increased inbound tourism into France. VFS Global today serves the Government of France through 52 Visa Application Centres in 19 countries around the globe. Speaking about Karkaria’s achievements, the Ambassador said, “France is proud to be the top global tourist destination, as well as a fast-growing destination for the Indian traveller. Over 5 lakh Indian visitors chose France last year and we want to welcome many more. It is an honour to confer the Ordre national du Mérite on Mr. Karkaria who played a stellar role in this success in conceiving the visa facilitation system and promoting France as a travel destination, thus contributing to developing people-to-people contacts between France and India.” Commenting on the recognition, Karkaria said, “I have always believed in the enormous potential France has as …

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Zubin Karkaria honoured with TAAI’s ‘Award of Distinction’

Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global, and CEO of Kuoni Group, was conferred with the ‘Award of Distinction’ by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), for his long-standing contribution to the Indian travel and tourism industry. The award was presented to Karkaria at the 63rd TAAI Convention held in Abu Dhabi on 14 October 2016. The award recognises his pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and his role as a mentor in the industry. Presently, VFS Global serves 51 client governments and operates in 126 countries across 5 continents. The company, which pioneered the concept of visa process outsourcing, has facilitated travel across the world by enhancing efficiencies in the visa application process and making the overall visa application experience easier and more convenient for potential travellers. The ISO 27001:2013 certified company (for Information Security Management System) has been recognized for maintaining highest levels of security, while adhering to best practices in technology, innovation, and streamlined service delivery. Karkaria, who has been a part of the travel industry for more than 25 years, established visa processing multinational VFS Global in 2001. In 2015, he became the first Asian to head the Switzerland headquartered Kuoni Group.

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EQT is Kuoni’s new owner

After confirming talks with Swedish private equity group EQT and announcing the offer within a month, Kuoni will finally close the investment deal with its new owner this May. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, Kuoni Group and CEO, VFS Global, has revealed to TravTalk that the change of ownership through Swedish private equity firm EQT will happen soon and expects the transaction to be completed in May 2016. Based on the offer made by EQT in February, Kuoni Group is valued at around Rs 9,800 crore (on present currency rates, based on 1.4 billion Swiss Francs). The company’s Board feels that taking Kuoni private and handing over the responsibility for the group to an internationally-renowned new owner would be ideal. Karkaria together with the current management team will continue to lead the company. Kuoni Group focuses on three core activities: Global Travel Distribution (GTD), Global Travel Services (GTS) and VFS Global. He said in an email interview, “We expect the transaction to be completed in May 2016. We welcome EQT’s investment in the Kuoni Group, which underlines the attractiveness of our global business activities. With the new owners we will be able to accelerate the implementation of our strategy. Investments in technology and supporting acquisition opportunities give the Kuoni Group an excellent platform to build further on its leadership positions in travel industry services. EQT has an impressive track record of growing companies. With access to their experience and network in both the travel and tech industries, we will be able to accelerate the implementation of Kuoni’s strategy.”

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