Despite economic concerns, the travel industry continues to grow with the World Tourism Organisation estimating a growth to 1.8 billion tourists travelling by 2030. An increase in technological changes and innovations are helping fuel this growth, especially when it comes to applying, processing and being approved for visas.
This is a big change that will begin effecting South Africans. According to VFS Global, this growth in eVisas and their associated products will mean a more streamlined, customised process which will serve to benefit 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,” VFS said. Though they did not say when such a product could be implemented.
One solution which is already implemented by VFS is the Location Independent Document Processing , or LIDPro, service. Through this, certain governments consulates can remotely process visa applications from another country. This would mean less time needed to visit consulates and less money spent on couriering printed applications to consulates in different cities.
But this does not mean technology does not create new concerns and challenges.
“While it has made systems more transparent, it has also heightened concerns of 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,” VFS said.