Newer initiatives like removing the necessity of the presence of children below seven years during visa interviews and block booking of visa interview timings for a group are being taken up.

Going on a holiday to United States will now become easier. The U.S. Commercial Service, in a bid to attract more Indian tourists to America, has initiated a new programme - Visit USA Committee (VUSACOM) India.

Launching the initiative in the city on Wednesday, VUSACOM president Ashwini Kakkar said the initiative would be of immense benefit to tour operators and agents and in the process, tourists as well.

“The objective is to encourage Indians to explore new areas in the US. To this end, the U.S. administration is making the process of obtaining tourism and business visas a bit easier,” he said.

Newer initiatives

“We want to ensure that genuine Indian tourists get their visas without much fuss,” he said. Newer initiatives like removing the necessity of the presence of children below seven years during visa interviews and block booking of visa interview timings for a group are being taken up, he explained.

A tour operator or an agent can take VUSACOM membership for Rs. 5,000 per annum.

Training

With this membership, operators would be eligible for U.S. Specialist programme where staff members of the agent can undergo training in U.S.A. and gain knowledge about various destinations in the country, Mr. Kakkar said.

Speaking on the occasion, US Consul General Katherine Dhanani said the U.S. was already a popular destination for people in India.

“US stands at a distant 13 position in attracting Indian tourists and we want it be among the top ten destinations by next year,” she said.

US Consulate has already taken steps to reduce waiting time in obtaining a visa. “People have a perception that obtaining a U.S. visa is very tough and we want to assure them that the process has been simplified to a large extent. This should encourage more people to travel to U.S.A.,” she said.

“The best way to get a US visa is to be completely honest about one’s purpose of visit and communicate clearly with the consul official during the visa interview,” she explained.

Consul officials later briefed tour operators and agents about various procedures one needs to follow in obtaining U.S. visas.

Tour operators, agents and hotels can apply for VUSACOM membership online at www.vusa.in/membership.

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