Saturday, November 8, 2008

Competing with the "developed" world: Issue # 21 - Travel

Frankly, I have not counted the issues, I have to admit. I just put in # 21 because I am quite sure that the list extends beyond this, and I might continue this series (lets see!). This comes first hand, trying to travel to the UK right now for WTM and years travelling in the "developed" world - for business and to compete in the global travel market as a Nepalese entrepreneur.

Business is about opportunities, and one has to be able to pounce on them. This means the ability to quickly get to places where the opportunities arise. Unfortunately, for a large part of the world, travel has several hindrances, and the biggest hurdle is the visa.

You are guilty unless proven innocent, and the visa official is the judge. We have to prove that we have no intent to stay or seek employment. All this sounds OK, countries have the right to check this. But how can this be proven.

1. Are you employed? If yes, give us originals of your salary sheet for at least three months to six months and a letter of temporary leave from employment.

2. Are you self employed? prove that you have an organization. Is it legal? Give registration papers, and possibly bank statements, to prove that this is not a paper organisation.

3. Are you married? do you have children (you might consider coming back to)?

4. Who invited you to the UK? Do you have papers to prove this? Originals please, no emails or faxes! Can this organisation please prove that you will go back once the business is over? (by the way, there is not much chance that an organisation from "our" parts of the world would have enough money and zeal to actually travel on their own, without having to get an invitation)

5. Have you booked your tickets? Return please. We want to make sure you are coming back. So there is no chance that you can change your dates without spending big money, even if the opportunity arises?

6. Are you applying from your home country, or a country where you are a resident? If not, please go back there to apply. (no way you are allowed to change your itinerary)

7. Do you have enough personal savings? please give us an original of your six monthly bank statement of your personal account.

Finally, after all this preparation, you might get a visa (or you might not!).

Compare this with someone coming from the UK, or the US, or the EU into Asia, or Africa or Latin America, specially in some countries with entry visa that can be bought at the airport, or have a limited gratis visa.

How can WE compete in this globalised world?

btw, I have not been refused the visa!

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