After almost 9 months delay, India has launched electronic visa (e-visa) facility for tourists from 43 countries, including US, Israel, Palestine and Japan to boost tourism sector and offer hassle-free travel to foreign visitors. Ironic but all SAARC country visitors, except Nepal and Bhutan, are not extended similar hospitality still.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, along with union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma launched the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) service enabled with electronic travel authorisation (ETA) scheme in delhi.
“India has a unique advantage in tourism sector owing to its geographical location and that no other country offers such abundance of diversity in weather conditions,” said Singh.
Sharma stressed that India has a long history of rich cultural heritage and what tourists want from India is “safety, cleanliness and hospitality”.
Apart from these four countries, tourists from Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Tonga, Laos, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Kiribati, South Korea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, Vietnam and Vanuatu will now be able to get e-visa following four-simple steps through the website https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/Visa_VOA/tvoa.html
This visa will allow entry of the tourists into India within 30 days from the date of approval of ETA and will be valid for 30 days stay from the date of arrival.
The facility will be extended to other nations in a phased manner. The tourists will be allowed to enter and depart from nine international airports – Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram.
Tourists availing this facility would be able to go for usual sightseeing and recreational activities. The tourism ministry has included facilities like short duration medical visit and casual business visit with e-visa.
According to officials, 75 TVOA counters will be placed at nine international airports to facilitate smooth transaction.
P.K.Bhardwaj, joint director, immigration department said that checking of tourists’ background will be done from an already created database and these TVOA counters will act as a first stage of personal interaction of tourists with the authority.
Subhash Goyal, president of Indian Association of Tour Operators, assured the tourism ministry that they do “every possible thing to translate this vision into success”.