New Delhi - Indian authorities have initiated a process to offer visas on arrival to tourists from 40 more countries to make India more tourist-friendly, media reports and officials said.
Officials from the home, foreign and tourism ministries met on Monday and there was a consensus on liberalising the visa regime including establishing an online application system for those applying in advance, the Times of India daily reported.
“There has to be a change in mindset towards the way we treat foreign tourists,” Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla told the Times.
The tourism and home affairs ministries have been tasked with preparing a road map to expand the visa-on-arrival scheme, Tourism Ministry spokesman Rajan Choudhary said. Final clearance by the cabinet and an announcement is expected later.
The 40 countries include the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Brazil, Russia, China, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the Times and Business Standard reported.
The other countries for which this facility can be extended include Germany, France, Italy, Swedan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, Mauritius, Czech Republic, Oman, Argentina and Kazakhstan. (source: ndtv.com)
India already offers visa-on-arrival to 11 countries including Japan, Finland, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and New Zealand.
India's share of international tourist arrivals in 2012 was a mere 0.64 percent of the global total, with smaller countries in South-East Asia attracting far more visitors. Foreign tourist arrivals last year reached 6.57 million, an increase of 4.5 percent compared with all of last year. - Sapa-dpa