· Founder and CEO of VFS Global recognised for outstanding contribution to India-UK relationship development and to global travel by transforming the visa application process
· Award comes as VFS Global marks processing its 200 millionth visa application
Zubin Karkaria, founder and CEO of VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions, was awarded the prestigious Global Game Changers Award at The Indian Awards 2019, held on 29 May 2019 at the Houses of Parliament in London, UK.
The award was presented to Mr. Karkaria by Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, at the ceremony organised and hosted by the India Business Group (IBG), a leading business advisory consultancy working in the UK, EU and India markets, at the Houses of Parliament, London, UK.
The Indian Awards 2019 – in it 3rd year – recognises valuable contributions to UK-India relations. The event honours outstanding individuals, businesses and organisations that have contributed to strengthening the UK-India partnership in recent years and bring together senior officials, business leaders, and influencers from across the UK, India and globally. Previous recipients of the Indian Awards (in various categories) have been the Rt Hon David Cameron, Former Prime Minister of the UK, and film director Gurinder Chadha OBE, amongst many others.
The Global Game Changers Award acknowledges an individual (based anywhere in the world) for their outstanding contribution to globalising India in any particular field.
Mr. Karkaria started his career in the travel industry and played a pivotal role in turning the Switzerland-headquartered Kuoni Group into India’s largest travel company. As Head of the company’s Tour Operating Division, and subsequently as CEO & Managing Director of Kuoni India and South Asia, Zubin was instrumental in driving several successful innovative mass marketing campaigns promoting Great Britain as the leading destination of choice from India.
With the inception of VFS Global in 2001, Mr Karkaria changed the face of visa services by introducing the concept of an outsourced visa process – an unheard of idea at the time. Recognising the challenge faced by applicants and governments alike in managing high volumes of visa applications due to a growth in travel, he conceived the business of outsourced visa services, which led to a complete transformation in visa processing worldwide.
Today, VFS Global is the world leader in its space, and the trusted partner to 63 governments with over 3,000 application centres across 147 countries. Very recently the company crossed an important milestone of processing its 200 millionth application – a strong testimony of the trust and reputation the company has developed with governments and visa applicants worldwide.
In 2003 the United Kingdom became one of VFS Global’s earliest client governments. Today, after having processed over 24 million UK Visas in 16 years, the UK remains one of VFS Global’s most valued client governments, which the company is honoured to serve across 134 cities in 57 countries through 136 application centres.
This has helped contribute to inward investment into the United Kingdom, where the tourism industry is projected to be worth £257 billion by 2025 according to a Deloitte-Visit Britain study, just under 10% of the total GDP and supporting almost 3.8 million jobs.
Speaking about the honour, Zubin Karkaria said, “I am deeply honoured and grateful to receive this very prestigious award from the India Business Group. While VFS Global has been working with UK Visas and Immigration since 2003 in supporting their vision and agenda across the world, I would also like to acknowledge the role of the travel industry in the continuous development of UK-India relations. Driving business excellence through continuous innovation and the highest levels of customer service have been at the core of VFS Global’s philosophy ever since we launched our company in 2001, and prestigious awards such as this one keep us motivated in our quest to constantly raise the bar.”
Mr Karkaria’s contribution to the world of travel and tourism has already earned him considerable recognition and many prestigious awards – in 2016, he was appointed ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite’ (Knight of the National Order of Merit) by the then President of the French Republic, François Hollande. He has also won the CEO of the Year (Professional Services) award, by the CEO Middle East Magazine, earlier this year, in February.