France has awarded one of the country’s highest civilian honours – Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (The National Order of Merit) – to the Indian national Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Group and Kuoni Group.
The award was presented to him by the French Ambassador to India, Mr Alezandre Hiegler, on behalf of the French President at a ceremony in Mumbai earlier this month.
The Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite is an award given for exemplary contributions made in private professions or in military, public or civil posts.
It was instituted by General Charles De Gaulle in the year 1963.
Zubin Karkaria was awarded because of his outstanding contributions towards making France popular as a tourist destination.
His company VFS Global was launched in the year 2001 and deals with facilitating visas for tourists. Over the years, VFS Global has helped over 500,000 people with visiting France.
Mr Karkaria has not only made the process easier but his achievements have contributed immensely to developing relations between India and France.
In the UK, VFS Global has more than 60 application centers which process visas for about two dozen diplomatic missions. Worldwide, VFS Global has more than 50 application centers spread across nineteen countries.
Mr Karkaria has been part of the travel and tourism industry for over 25 years and is the first ever Asian to become CEO of the Kuoni Group.
The Kuoni group is the parent company of VFS Global and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
While honouring Mr Karkaria, Ambassador Ziegler, touched upon how Karkaria has helped France with becoming a premier tourist destination over the years.
Accepting his award, Karkaria said that he was deeply humbled.
He added that he was proud to be working with “Atout France”, the tourism development agency of France.
He also thanked the French Government for bestowing so much trust in his company, VFS Global and also on the Kuoni Group.