Inbound Travel

More than 1 lakh tourists availed of e-visa in March

The government is planning to extend the e-visa facility to more categories of tourists

DELHI:  The government is planning to extend the e-visa facility to more categories of tourists after a total of 1.16 lakh visitors arriving in the country used the facility in March 2016, an increase of a whopping 347 per cent over the same period a year ago.

Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said the ministry had asked the Home Affairs Ministry to allow MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) e-visas as well, reports The Hindu.

“We have been trying very hard for e-visa for MICE and medical. We are hopeful that this e-visa will see the light of the day, particularly for business tourists. We are insisting that ultimately conference visa should also be done, which we have been assured that it will be, step-by-step,” he said at an event recently.

He added that the Centre was working with State governments to develop Khajuraho, Sanchi, Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Tirupati as MICE tourism destinations in India. Meanwhile, an official release said that the high growth in e-visa tourist arrival could be attributed to introduction of the facility for citizens of 150 countries against 43 countries previously.

The U.K. continues to occupy top slot among the countries availing e-tourist visa facility with 27.7 per cent tourists, followed by the U.S. (13.4 per cent), Russia (7 per cent), France (6.5 per cent) and Germany (5.2 per cent).

Introduce on November 27, 2014, the facility was available for citizens of 113 countries arriving at 16 Airports in India till February 25, 2016. However, the government then extended this scheme to travellers from 37 more countries.

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