To woo a greater number of foreign tourists and business visitors, the government of India has considered plans to extend the validity of e-visa for tourists and business travellers from 2 months with double entry to 12 months with multiple entries. Several plans for further liberalization of e-visa to India have been taken into consideration in view of the increasing popularity of Indian e-visas among foreigners and foreign nationals of Indian origin.
In the last week of August 2019 was held a national-level tourism conference in New Delhi, where India’s tourism minister Prahlad Singh announced to introduce a 5-year e-tourist visa, with several relaxations in the policy, for a minimal fee of $80. The five-year e-tourist visa is intended to make cheap travel to India from USA and other countries eligible for visa on arrival, reality during the off-season (April-July).
A one-month e-visa to India for foreign tourists and India-origin foreign nationals is also under consideration. It would come for a fee of $25 per person throughout the year except the off-tourism season when the one-month e-tourist visa fee would be reduced to $10. Initially, the nationals of the US, the UK, Singapore, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Mozambique and Sri Lanka will be able to avail the one-month e-visa to India at the reduced fee during the off season.
Earlier, a visit to India cost foreign tourists more than US$ 1500 for two, including the high fee for e-tourist visa to India, for a 14-day trip. The latest revision of the Indian e-tourist visa fees reduced by as much as $75 is expected to double the number of foreign tourist arrivals to India in the next three years. It will literally make cheap travel to India a trending phenomenon.
Apart from a five-year e-tourist visa for USD 80, India is all set to introduce a one-year e-visa for US$40. While the Home Ministry of India has already given its nod to the revision of the Indian e-tourist visa policy, the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to give its approval.
The revised e-tourist visa program permits continuous stay for 90 days during each entry to India. But, the nationals of Japan, Canada, the UK and US are allowed a maximum of 180-day continuous stay per visit to India. Travellers on e-business visa to India are eligible for maximum 180 days of continuous stay during each visit from the countries which are within the ambit of India’s e-visa policy.
The statistics from India’s tourism ministry website depicts a growth of 41.5% from 14, 56,615 foreign tourist arrivals in the January-November 2017 to 20, 61,511 foreign visitors during the same period in 2018.
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