Thursday, 10 December 2009

CWG impact: Visa on arrival for tourists

In a major boost for Commonwealth Games 2010, the government has introduced for the first time `visa on arrival' scheme for tourists from five countries starting first quarter of 2010.

Tourists from Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Finland and Luxembourg and will get visa on arrival facility on a pilot basis for a period of one year. The scheme will be applicable at all international airports as well as ports across the country. The visa on arrival scheme is expected to provide a quantum jump in foreign tourist arrivals to India from target countries.

The decision is taken considering the boost required to promote incoming tourism from these countries which are potential source markets for India. There is also a suggestion to government for extending this facility further to tourists from seven more countries. These countries including Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Laos, Cambodia and South Africa be allowed to avail this facility.

Visa on arrival facility is offered by several southeast Asian countries and proves popular with foreign tourists looking for a short break. Germany and Japan are among the top 10 source countries for India while Brazil and Netherlands have shown encouraging growth over the last year.

Due to security reasons, countries like the US, UK and Pakistan are out of the list of countries that will be accorded the facility, officials said. But this could change once airlines offer advance passenger information.

Incidentally, India has already introduced long-term multiple entry visa for 18 countries including France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Vietnam in 2006.


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