The World Tourism Organisation estimates 1.8 billion tourists are set to travel globally by 2030.
Going hand in hand with this travelling populace is a technological revolution of sorts. Among the most important and common smart travel offerings are solutions like electronic visa on arrival, eVisa products, biometric smart gates and other smart infrastructure, which are being introduced at several border and immigration checkpoints that are driving the number of people in visiting other parts of the world.
The opportunities are endless for the travel industry to transform and adapt itself to take advantage of this growing market, said VFS Global’s Regional Group COO Jiten Vyas.
He believes that companies must explore options to traditional solutions if they want to survive these fast-paced changes.
“Constant technological updates in the industry lead to new levels of innovation in services. Innovation is the only way organisations can provide the best experience to customers, and retain their competitive advantage.
“These changing market dynamics urge us to constantly assess how we can make the traditionally stringent visa process even more streamlined, customised and better suited to the needs of the traveller. A case in point is the pioneering Visa At Your Doorstep solution, which brings the visa application and biometrics process to the customer’s doorstep. Eliminating the need for the customer to visit the centre, technology has allowed the entire application setup, including the biometric kit, to be taken to outstation customers living too far away from the Visa Application Centres,” said Vyas.
He said technology isn’t without its challenges.
“While it has made systems more transparent, it has also heightened concerns about data protection and privacy. Since most travellers’ information is stored online, robust storing and purging measures are expected to be in place, a requirement especially crucial in the visa services space, given the large quantities of user data processed.”
He shared some insight on the General Data Protection Regulation across the European Union, which came into effect since May 2018.
He said it now served as a global benchmark for data security and privacy measures.
“In the wake of still newer trends in artificial intelligence, block chain automation, and machine learning, it is only a matter of time how the travel trade and allied industries integrate more such advancements into everyday operations – a combination that will be nothing but a win-win for both the company and the customer,” Vyas concluded.