As the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is just over a fortnight away, it is most likely that Virat Kohli and team might get a feel of playing at home, thanks to the huge fan base from India which is all set to make it to the stadiums in England and Wales. Up to 80,000 people are estimated to travel with an Indian passport to watch the matches, British High Commission (BHC) estimates indicate.
Elaborating on the same, a BHC spokesperson told indianexpress.com that the demand for UK visas has been higher than normal since the beginning of 2019 and the same continues till date. “At the moment, demand is higher still – and receiving more than 3,500 applications a day from India is common. Our visa services partner VFS Global has already processed over 2,00,000 UK visa applications in India, during the period of January 2019 to April 2019,” he says.
Interestingly, VFS Global, BHC’s visa services partner alone received over 1,32,000 applications during the months of March and April this year, which accounts for around 65 per cent of the overall UK visa application count from 2019 January to April. “Despite this, we are confident that we will keep up our 2018 record of 97% of all applicants receiving a decision on their application within 15 working days,” the spokesperson adds.
Confirming this, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer of VFS Global explains that his visa management company has been offering a range of value-added services in a bid to enhance the experience of the UK visa application process. “Since the tournament is coinciding with the peak travel season from India, VFS Global’s special packages for UK visa applicants include Group appointments, Priority and Super Priority Visas, doorstep visa application services, and even match tickets through Britain Travel Shop – to ensure applicants have a good innings beginning at the Visa Application Centre itself,” he says.
Sports ties between India and England to be celebrated
Apart from this, the British Deputy High Commission in Bengaluru plans to celebrate sports ties between the two countries by engaging with key international personalities in the field of sports hailing from or settled in Karnataka.
Off the fields, while India constituted one-third of the worldwide viewership for 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup with around 730 million viewers, the 2019 edition expects 1.5 billion viewers from across the world to tune into the tournament.