Danes who wish to travel to India have some paperwork to do. The Indian embassy in Denmark announced that Danes travelling to India now have to document paid return tickets, hotel reservations and a letter from the bank stating that a healthy economy is in place while occupation of parents also needs to be documented. The rules do no not apply to other Nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway.
Director of sales from Star Tour travel agency, Stig Elling, is calling it harassment of the Danes.
“This can only be described as harassment of the Danish tourists. If India continues like this, we have to consider if the country is even tourist friendly enough for us to send clients there,” he says to Politiken.
A family from Northern Jutland was forced to cancel their trip with Star Tour to India when they were faced with the option of handing in the documents personally or paying almost 1400 DKK to settle the matter via post.
Albatros Travel sends 5000 Danes to India a year. Head of communications, Steen Albrechtsen, says that it has become harder and more expensive for Danish travellers to apply for visa.
“It is a hassle for the travellers that they have to send a statement of account or a letter from their bank to apply for visa to India that confirms that their economy allows them to complete the travel. Most banks charge 250 DKK for a “To whom it may concern letter”.
Some speculate whether the new visa demands are a result of the tension between Denmark and India caused by the “Niels Holck dispute”. In 1995 he helped supply insurgents in India with weapons that were dropped from the sky. Denmark has refused to extradite the Dane fearing that he might be subject to torture or inhumane conditions. In February 2012, the Indian President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, cancelled a visit to Denmark and India instructed officials not to meet with any Danish representatives.
Executive director of Associations of Danish Travel Agencies, Lars Thykier, had a meeting at the Indian embassy in Denmark where he asked if the new rules had anything to do with Niels Holck. The Indian Ambassador rejects that the two are related.
It has also become more difficult for Danes to receive a business visa to India. However, this is in fact a result of the dispute, says secretary of the Indian embassy in Denmar, Rakesh Kumar.
“That has to do with Niels Holck. It is a political decision from the Indian government,” says.