Hong Kong visa rejections hit traffic from Kolkata

Picture: Cathay Dragon Twitter

June 12 (TravelAndy): If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong from Kolkata, have a Plan B ready.

Thousands of rejections of the online pre-arrival registration of visas without allegedly stating a reason have cut down the number visitors from the east Indian metropolis to the autonomous administrative region in China drastically, say reports.

Hong Kong introduced the pre-arrival registration system in January 2017 and the problems started thereafter. Indian nationals earlier did not need a visa to enter the former British colony.

The situation has come to the point where several tour operators have stopped marketing Hong Kong as a destination.

“I have been applying for pre-registration for my clients with passports from Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. While the ones from Mumbai and Delhi are getting approved, most from Calcutta are getting rejected. Now we have stopped selling Hong Kong as a destination,” said The Telegraph quoted Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, of the Travel Agents’ Federation of India, as saying.

Cathay Dragon, a Cathay Pacific subsidiary that operated six flights between Kolkata and Hong Kong every week, has been adversely affected by this development.

“Traffic to Hong Kong has fallen by 30 to 40 per cent. Earlier, about 5,000 people would travel to Hong Kong per month, now the number has come down to around 1,500,” DNA quoted an official of the airline as saying.

Thai Airways is hit as well.

“We are getting affected by this new policy and are seeing a decline in the number of passengers to Hong Kong by more than 50 per cent. We get requests for refund of tickets,” Kris Theerarak, general manager of Thai Airways International in Calcutta, told The Telegraph.

Asked whether the Chinese consulate in Kolkata could help in the matter, Ma Zhanwu, Chinese Consul General in India, told DNA, “Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and visa applications are handled by Hong Kong’s administration. We can’t do anything about it.”


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