Following the remarkable success of the Centre’s Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) scheme, which helped to bring more foreign tourists to the country, the Union Tourism Ministry has made a strong push for extending the facility to 30 more countries, including China, Russia and Korea.
“We have proposed the VoA facility for 30 (more) countries including Germany, France, Korea, Russia and China,” Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi said.
Germany and France are among the top 10 countries, which accounted for the maximum number of foreign tourists visiting the country in 2011, with over 2.4 lakh and 2.3 lakh respectively.
The number of Chinese tourists too have witnessed a significant rise and over 1.4 lakh people from the Communist nation arrived in the country in 2011. Meanwhile, the ministry’s proposal is under the active consideration of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.Presently, 11 countries have been granted the VoA facility, under which a traveller can secure visa after landing at an Indian airport. And the countries include Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
According to the Tourism Minister, the easing of the visa regime would help to boost the foreign tourist arrivals.
“The aim is to ensure that India has at least one per cent share in the international tourist arrivals. Presently, India’s share in the world tourist arrivals is around 0.64 per cent,” he said. As part of easing the facilities for the foreign travellers, Chiranjeevi has also proposed condensing the immigration form to make it simpler.
“Our immigration card was so lengthy. Non-English speaking and elderly people were finding it tough...So we took it up...The new condensed size will become operational soon.”