Friday 17 May 2019 12:47 AM UTC
CHENNAI May 17: India, for long, has been the economic epicentre for international cricket and, with the ICC Cricket World Cup starting in England later this month, hordes of Indian fans are travelling to cheer Team India.
“We don’t have a global estimate for how many people in total will travel, but it is extremely likely that India will be the highest number – given the size of the market and passion for the sport in India, and the great flight connections between India and UK,” a British High Commission spokesperson told Sportstar.
“Our rough estimate is around 80,000 Indians may travel for the World Cup. This is based on previous India-UK travel trends and the previous numbers of Indians travelling for previous tournaments,” the spokesperson added.
The UK Visas and Immigration office has been running a major social media campaign — #SummerofCricketINUK — since February to encourage early application and/or use of priority visa to ensure Indian fans get through the visa system as efficiently as possible.
While the spike in applications during summer is usually due to the seasonal increase in travel, the spokesperson reckons it is “even higher (this time) due to the cricket this year. An average is hard to say, but during peak (e.g. April-July) it is usually 100-150% higher than off-peak (e.g. November-January).”
“At the moment, demand is higher still – and we are receiving more than 3,500 applications a day from India. Our visa services partner VFS Global has already processed over 200,000 UK visa applications in India, during the period of January 2019 to April 2019.
“In March and April of 2019 alone, over 132,000 UK visa applications were submitted at VFS Global, which accounted for around 65 per cent of the overall UK visa application count in January to April 2019.”
With Indians making up one of the largest diaspora communities in the UK, there will be no dearth of support and motivation for Virat Kohli and Co. when they take the field against South Africa in the campaign opener on June 5.
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