Finland to open Mumbai consulate by year-endMarch 5th, 2008 - 12:42 pm ICT by admin
Mumbai, March 5 (IANS) In order to facilitate easier access and travel to Finland , the Finnish Embassy in India has decided to open a consulate office in Mumbai by late 2008. presently, visas are issued only from the Finland Embassy in New Delhi.
Talking to IANS here Wednesday, second secretary for Political affairs, Press, Culture & Development Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen said: “Finland is going ahead with concrete plans to open a full-fledged consulate in Mumbai. We are in the process of completing the modalities for it and hope it could materialise as early as end-2008.”
So far, intending visitors to Finland had to travel to New Delhi in order to acquire visas. Since that cause hardships to the people and entailed costs, Finland has decided to start a Finnish consulate here.
According to the Finish Embassy in New Delhi in 2006, over 40,000 visas were issued for all categories of visitors to that country.
In 2007, the figure shot up by nearly 35 percent - around 60,000 visas were issued to Indians keen to visit the Nordic nation, which is vying to become India’s gateway to Europe.
According to Finnair vice president Sakari Romu, his country’s national carrier, launched its India operations in October 2006 with five flights to the Indian capital and the airline will soon exhaust the available 14 slots to the country. “India is high on our priority since business links between our two countries is also expanding. We have almost 85 percent load factor,” he said, referring to the strong presence of several Finish companies like Nokia and Kone and Indian software giants like Wipro and Infosys setting up bases in Finland.
Romu said that Helsinki-Delhi is just six hours and thirty-five minutes flight with convenient onward connections to the rest of Europe and North America.
He also said there was a steep increase in number of Indian restaurants in Finland and an increasing number of Finnish are relishing Indian multi-cuisine specialties, including south Indian dishes and spicy foods
Apart from business travelers, even the tour operators have noticed a significant rise in Indian tourists flocking the land of Santa Claus with a population of a little over 5 milion.
“In the past few years, there has been a dramatic shift amongst Indian tourists willing to explore exotic European destinations. Few years back it was either the US, Western Europe and South East Asia,” said Rajinder Rai, vice president of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).