India makes group visa easier and cheaper

India finally seems to be waking up to the role of  an easy visa regime for promoting tourism. It is still taking baby steps in the direction even while claiming to be working towards becoming one of the world’s ‘friendliest visa regimes’. On offer for now is a cut in the cost and easing of the application process for group travel.

Groups of four or more arriving in India by air or sea can now can apply for a collective landing permit instead of a traditional visa up to 72 hours in advance, provided they come through a recognised and registered travel agent or tour operator. Since April 1 groups have been able to apply online with details of each traveller, and full details of their travel itinerary, to the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office or Foreigner’s Registration Office at a number of Indian cities, in a move Parvez Dewan, tourism secretary for the Indian government, called ‘a revolutionary order’.

Teething problems were inevitable as the scheme was introduced, said Dewan, but he hoped it would make India an attractive destination for meetings and events.”In the beginning there will be long queues, but by 2015 I am predicting this will have settled down and we will have one of the friendliest visa regimes in the world. But there is no plan to reduce the visa fee.”

Read the full report here, Meetpie


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