Happy New Year 2017

New Year Thoughts and Reflections

As is tradition, we take this time to look back and reflect on the year and set plans and goals for the next. For a list of some of the top travel destinations for bringing in the new year, see our post from last year.

2016 was very well known for the long list of icons we sadly lost including Terry Wogan, Prince, David Bowie, Mohammed Ali, Victoria Wood, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Alongside this we saw Brexit, Trump winning the US Election, the exploding Samsung phones and Bake-off leaving the BBC. Aside from all that we still had many positive stories such as Leicester City winning the Premier League, celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday and our Olympic and Paralympic teams bringing home a record number of medals from Rio. Here are some of the highlights of our year here at The Travel Visa Company:

Taking a look back at 2016

Business Events

Following last year’s success at the Business Travel Show, we teamed up with MPI Brokers in February to exhibit again with a newly designed stand. We thoroughly enjoyed the two days and met a whole host of new business contacts and were able to showcase our newest product offerings. Read our blog about the event to learn more about Europe’s leading exhibition and conference dedicated to Corporate Travel.

We also attended a number of events for ITT Future You who run days at many universities across the UK to share knowledge about the travel industry to aspiring students. We were delighted to offer advice and support to the hundreds of young people who are no doubt the future of travel. Some of the key areas we spoke about were Apprenticeship opportunities, teaching/studying abroad and sharing our knowledge of the various different types of visas and entry requirements for countries worldwide.


Charity Fundraising

For 2016 our chosen charity was the Family Holiday Association to support their 500 for 500 campaign. This set us a £500 target and we had ambitious plans to raise this amount. After a lot of planning, on 20th July we did a non-stop 24hr Around The World cycle in partnership with STUDIO 4ORCE Personal Training. It was a great success and everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed taking part – our grand total for the year was £812.50!


New Products

We have a strong focus on researching and developing new services for our clients and customers. There have been many changes to the entry requirements in 2016 and we have been at the forefront in keeping up with the new application systems and travel visas. Our comprehensive portfolio of media visa services have expanded to cover even more countries, travellers can apply with us for their new Canadian ETA, we support a number of tour operators and travel agents in obtaining Cuban Tourist Cards and have partnered with a number of companies to branch out into other essential travel services. Masta can provide our customers with expert advice about health requirements, those who would like added protection can sign-up with ConsularAssist for round-the-clock assistance worldwide and business travellers can obtain their ATA Carnets to cover their equipment for travel.


Award Winners!

After winning the award for Excellence in Customer Service last year, we were excited to be up for another award this in 2016. This was a bit different to our usual nominations as it was for one particular individual in our team – our Social Media and Marketing apprentice James Healy. The hard work and effort he put in during the past year on his course really paid off and we were delighted to hear his name announced as Apprentice of the Year at the South Cheshire Chamber Awards. He is now working towards a higher-level degree apprenticeship and continues to be a role-model for our future apprentices. As well as winning an award, we were keen to support the chamber and sponsored the Exporter of the Year award. Read more about the event here or watch the highlights from the evening.


New Arrivals

Our review of the year wouldn’t be complete without celebrating the new arrivals in our company. Not just our new staff members but also the new additions outside the office. Our Managing Director and Head of Sales both became first-time grandparents and our Operations Manager is now a very proud mother. Congratulations!


Plans for 2017

After a hugely successful 2015, we had ambitious goals and our hard working staff have achieved some incredible results. The past year is another testament to our team – continuing to win awards, surpassing our fundraising targets and continuing to be one of the UKs fastest growing travel visa agencies. Some of our main aims for the year ahead is to work on re-designing our application packs to improve usability, continue the development of our website for use on mobiles and tablets, developing new services and to continue expanding our team. We also plan to focus on smaller business events in our local community and, once again, raise as much as we can for charity.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support as we look forward to the next 12 months.

 

Happy New Year from The Travel Visa Company!

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Easter 2016

Opening Hours

If you are planning to make a visa application during this holiday period we are here to help! Our staff can be contacted on 01270 250 590 – see our opening times below:

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Easter

Easter celebrations begin with Good Friday (the day that Jesus Christ was crucified). Traditionally, this day involves the attendance of Mass in the afternoon and a day of fasting. Christians will have only one meal throughout the whole day, and this will usually be a fish dish as meat should not be eaten on Good Friday.

This is then followed by Easter Sunday which takes place on the last Sunday of March. This was the day Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion. Most commonly, the day is celebrated with the giving and receiving of sweet treats and candies, for example: Chocolate Easter Eggs. As well as this, you will find people taking part in Easter egg hunts, Sunday church service and Easter Sunday roast dinners.

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Where to spend Easter?

As Easter brings with it two bank holidays, the perfect way to spend it would be an extra long, relaxing, weekend away! By this we mean, it would be best not travelling half way around the world and spending an entire day travelling… instead: A couple hours on a plane, car or ferry to arrive at your chosen destinations is exactly what the doctor ordered!

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Here are some Ideas for a much needed European getaway:

Tuscany, Italy

With a huge amount to keep you busy, breathtaking landscapes, incredible art & history and some of the best food & wine in the world, Tuscany should definitely be considered when travelling to Europe! A popular region in Italy, Tuscany has great deal of attractions suitable for everybody; from families and solo travellers, couples to adventurers you will never get bored!

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Spain

Go shopping, grab a coffee, treat yourself to a fancy meal out or just relax on the beach… Spain really has so much to offer! Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Valencia and many more historic cities. This is surely a bucket list essential for any traveller. With a flight seeing you there in around 2 to 3 hours, what is stopping you?

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Istanbul, Turkey

The only city in the world that encompasses both Asia and Europe

Istanbul will not disappoint. This is a place filled with different wonders including: the Basilica Cistern, the Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. Teeming with little shops and stalls, this is the perfect place to pick up some traditional Turkish memorabilia.

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Do I Need a Visa to travel

If you hold a UK passport; you can visit all 26 European countries in the Schengen agreement visa free!

For those of other nationalities, you can apply for a Schengne visa with The Travel Visa Company. Its as easy as 1… 2… 3!

  1. Apply for your Schengen visa.
  2. Receive your issued visa.
  3. Enjoy travel between all 26 EU countries with one visa!

Please Note: You must apply for the visa with the embassy of the destination you will first be entering.

We can assist with your travel visa needs for all nationalities and destinations worldwide:

Tourist Visas / Business Visas / Media Visas
European (Schengen) Visas
Study Visas / Work Permits

Other services we include are:

Passport Renewal Service
In-House Passport Photography and Resizing Service
UK Inbound Immigration Visas

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Australia Day

What is Australia day?

Australia Day is an official national holiday for Australia. The day is used not only to celebrate what is great about Australia, but gives everyone a chance to reflect and appreciate what the nation has achieved.

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Why is it celebrated?

The 26th of January marks the annual celebration of Australia day and the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788.

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How is it celebrated?

You can find a large amount of the Australian population attending organised community events, getting together with family and friends to celebrate, watching the sunset or late night fireworks, barbecuing on the beach in the sun or just spending the day relaxing with loved ones.

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Travel requirements

If you hold a British Passport and are travelling to Australia for business or tourist purposes, you will need a Visa!

Here are the four different visas you can apply for:

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But don’t worry – here at The Travel Visa Company we take the stress out of the visa application process. For more information, or to apply, visit our website: thetravelvisacompany.co.uk/australia/ or call our award winning team on 01270 250 590.

 

“Australia Day is a day driven by communities unified by the celebration of what’s great about Australia.”

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Happy Holidays

December has arrived and the New Year will soon be upon us so here is a run-down of the holiday events that will be closing off 2015!

Hanukkah

What is Hanukkah?

This holiday is celebrated by the Jewish community and lasts for 8 days (December 6 – 14). Back in 165 B.C.E the Greek king of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. Most Jews were, understandably, angry and decided to fight back. The Jewish rebel army managed to drive the opposing Syrian army out of Jerusalem and so reclaimed their land. Hanukkah is the celebration of this victory.

How is Hanukkah celebrated?

You can usually find a 9-branched candelabra, called a Hanukkiahlit. The 8 branches are set alight to represent the 8 days of Hanukkah while the 9th is used to light the others.

A common past-time for Jews during Hanukkah is playing the dreidel which is used for gambling with small candies, nuts or fruit!

Treats and gifts are often exchanged everyday during the 8 days. Childeren are given chocolate and money whereas the parents can receive other gifts including: books, oils and cooking recipes.

An important part of Hanukkah is the food. Traditional Jewish foods such as Latkes, doughnuts, and foods fried in oil are eaten by the families in these 8 days.

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Kwanzaa

What is Kwanzaa?

This holiday was created in 1966 and is relatively new as holidays go. Unlike other holidays, it is not tied to any religion – it was created for Africans to celebrate their heritage. It got its name from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which thanks the gods for their harvest.

It lasts from December 2 to the 1st of January.

How is it celebrated?

During Kwanzaa homes are decorated, gifts are exchanged and candles are lit! Each day a different candle is lit to represent a different African principle and each day it is a different candle that is lit.

Commonly, during Kwanzaa, you can find many people taking part in musical gatherings, candle lighting rituals and the feast that takes place on the 6th day (New Years eve).

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Christmas

What is Christmas?

Taking place on the 25th of December each year, this (as well as Easter) is one of the most important days of the year for Christians as it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus!

Often, children are told that Father Christmas (Santa) will squeeze down the chimney and put presents under the Christmas tree for each boy and girl that has been good this year but if you’ve been bad… you can expect to find coal in your stocking!

How is it celebrated?

Christmas is celebrated with popular festive carols, the most popular being ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. Due to its popularity Christmas is also very embedded into pop culture. Best selling artists and songs include: ‘Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, Michael Bublé and soundtracks to films such as Home Alone and The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Each year families will decorate a fir tree with tinsel, wooden ornaments, baubles, sweets and then decoratively wrap presents to then be set under the tree for opening in morning. Treats and snacks are also prepared by families which include sausage rolls, mince pies, pigs in blankets and many others!

Then comes the feast! Traditionally a roast Turkey or Goose will be cooked, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and lots of gravy!

When the day draws to an end it is likely that the family settle down to watch some festive television, movies or to keep themselves busy with the gifts they have just received.

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From everyone here at The Travel Visa Company we would like to wish you all Happy Holidays!