In a move that could provide a much needed push to the tourism sector, the Ministry Of Tourism launched the e-visa service (visa on arrival) on Thursday which now means travelers from 43 nations can apply for a visa online and will receive an approval within seventy-two hours. It is a relatively simple process and all that the traveler needs is a passport valid for six months, $60 for the visa and a photograph.
Among the nations covered under this service are – Brazil, New Zealand, U.S.A, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and Israel to name a few. The facility will be available at nine international airports in India which include Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Thiruvanthapuram.
The e-visa will be valid for a period of thirty days with an option to extend it for another thirty days. However one can apply for an e-visa only twice a year. This will provide an incentive to global travelers to consider India as an option for a short-term holiday or even stop by when travelling to other nations.
Tourism is the backbone of any successful economy providing employment to a large section of both skilled and unskilled workers. Over the years, the government has launched campaigns like “Incredible India” to provide an impetus to this exciting sector.
Launching the facility at New Delhi, Rajnath Singh (Union Home Minister) commended the efforts of the Tourism ministry and External Affairs ministry– “When it comes to tapping India’s vast tourism potential, the sky is the limit. With India’s economic potential on the rise, India’s geographical diversity and culture need to be tapped and showcased to the world.”
According to the Word Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism sector in India contributed around 6.6 percent of the nations GDP in 2012. Compare that to other major players in Asia like Malaysia where the tourism sector contributes a massive 12 percent to the country’s GDP, while in Singapore the share is around 11 percent. Hence the room for improvement in this sector is massive.
By having a simple and efficient system to acquire a visa, India will benefit not only from travelers who come here for a holiday but other sectors will also receive a boost. Not many people are aware that medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry in India and has experienced an annual growth rate of 25 percent over the last year with experts expecting this figure to reach 30 percent by 2015. More than 1, 50,000 people travel to India to avail lower cost but high quality medical services.
Another area which could benefit from this service is sports tourism. Over the past one year, our nation has witnessed the emergence of international sporting events like Football, Tennis, Cricket, Badminton and Kabaddi. In the near future, one can expect sports fanatics from all around the world to travel to our nation to experience these events.
“Incredible India” looks on course to establish itself as one of the most attractive and interesting nations to travel to.
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