THE Philippines has cautioned Indian travellers about acquiring fake visas from unofficial sources after a recent spate of visitors being apprehended, deported and barred from future travel to the country for holding such visas.
Benito B Valeriano, ambassador of the Philippines to India, said: “We request travellers from India to deal only with authorised members of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) or Travel Agents Association of India while applying for visa through a travel consultant.”
The three trade associations in India have been urged to inform visa applicants to apply only to Philippine consular offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata through designated association members.
Vineet Gopal, secretary, OTOAI, said: “Members of our association always inform their clients about the pitfalls of fake visas. This is a menace and we will cooperate with the Philippine embassy in India to stop such crimes. Often, travellers get sucked into a damaging vortex by unscrupulous brokers.”
Anil Punjabi, chairman – east, TAFI, affirmed: “Thankfully, the problem has been detected in the initial stages and can be addressed. It is not only Indian tourists but nationals of other countries too who have encountered this problem.”