THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran welcomed the joint decision taken by India and Saudi Arabia to extend e-visa facilities to Saudi nationals and also to simplify the travel document procedures of tourists. The decision, taken at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in New Delhi on Wednesday, would give a huge fillip to Kerala’s tourism, he said.
Kadakampally said the state’s tourism department has been demanding for the past two-and-a-half years the withdrawal of the biometric visa system introduced by the Union government for Saudi citizens visiting India.
Along with England and the USA, a large number of tourists from Saudi Arabia visit the state. Kerala Tourism has been organising several promotional campaigns, including roadshows, in Saudi Arabia. However, the introduction of biometric enrolment visa for Saudi nationals has dealt a major blow to the state’s tourism sector. “The latest announcement will remove this major irritant,” the minister said.