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Tourism Minister Proposes Extension of Visa on Arrival Scheme

Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi met the Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and submitted a proposal to extend Visa-on-arrivals (VoA) to 16 more countries. The Ministry of Tourism strongly felt that the VoA facility for those countries, which are potential source markets to India and where there have been no security related issues in the past or likely to be in future, can be taken up under this scheme. Presently, the VoA, with a maximum validity of 30 days with single entry facility, is being granted by Immigration Officers at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports to the citizens of eleven countries viz. Singapore, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Japan, Finland, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.

An independent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) has noted that VoA scheme has a significant and positive impact on the decision to travel to India. This scheme needs to be expanded to cover more countries and more ports of entry. The Ministry of Tourism had proposed extension of VoA to Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Sweden and Norway to cover the European and Scandinavian countries which are key inbound markets; Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to cover the emerging markets from the CIS countries; Brazil and South Africa to cover foster IBSA Cooperation and Trinidad & Tobago to foster historical links; and Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei to cover all the ASEAN countries which will be consistent with the look east policy.

The Ministry of Tourism had also proposed extension of VoA to more airports namely Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Goa, Bodhgaya and Trivandrum. Keeping in view the recent travel trends, the Ministry of Tourism has also proposed VoA scheme for South Korea, which is a very important tourist generating market.

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