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Visa-on-Arrival bonanza to ease travel to India

February 10, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59In a significant move, India Government has initiated Visa on Arrival and Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for 180 countries.

India’s Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning has announced its decision to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from all except eight countries-Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia. According to the ministry’s statement, it would take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place and it hoped to implement the facility by the next tourist high season beginning in October.Dr K Chiranjeevi, India's Tourism Minister

Dr. K Chiranjeevi, Minister of state for Tourism, Government of India,  said: “The visa-on-arrival for 180 countries will definitely boost the foreign tourist arrivals in the country. It will help growth in tourism sector and provide a major boost to tourism in the country.”

ETA will allow foreign travelers to apply for an Indian visa online and receive confirmation in five working days. Inidan government plans to set up a website enabling tourists to apply for the visa and pay the fee. The visa would then be available for collection on arrival at any airport after three days.

Mr. Subhash Goyal, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said: “The new Visa-on-Arrival facility to visitors from 180 countries will provide a major boost to India’s tourism sector. It will increase international tourist arrival by 25 to 50 percent. We’ve been requesting for this since 15 years. The sooner Visa-on-Arrival and E-visa facilities are implemented, better it will be for the country’s tourism.”

Mr. Subhash Goyal, President, IATO

Mr. Subhash Goyal, President, IATO

India currently offers visa-on-arrival to tourists from 11 countries- Japan, Finland, Singapore, Indonesia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos and Myanmar. In 2013, India received 6.85 million tourists at a growth of 4.1 percent. India’s foreign exchange earnings in 2013 from tourists were US$ 18.133 billion, with a growth of 2.2 percent.

Mr. Subhash Goyal mentioned that IATO was grateful to the Government of India for this historic step and is willing to extend any cooperation required from its side to make this landmark step a reality in achieving desired goals for India’s tourism.

Currently visa-on-arrival facility is available at international airports of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.

The electronic visa-on-arrival would be available at 26 major airports in India and would be valid for 30 days from the date of the tourist’s arrival in India.

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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