e-Tourist Visa fuels tourist arrivals in India

Goa tourism goes online
The e-Tourist Visa scheme notched a phenomenal growth of 1987.9 percent in terms of tourist arrivals in October 2015 when 56,477 tourists landed in India compared to just 2,705 in the same month last year, an official said here on Wednesday.

Similarly, between January-October 2015 a total of 258,182 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa compared to 21,995 in the same period in 2014, registering a growth of 1073.8 percent, virtually spelling a goldmine for the country’s tourism industry.

This robust growth is attributed mainly to introduction of e-Tourist Visas to 113 countries as compared to earlier when only 12 countries were covered under it.

In terms of arrivals in October 2015, the maximum share was grabbed by New Delhi airport with 50.93 percent of all tourists landing there, followed by Mumbai airport (20.54 percent).

Bengaluru stood next (5.90 percent), Chennai (5.61 percent), Goa (4.39 percent), Kochi (3.71 percent), Hyderabad (2.29 percent), Kolkata (2.23 percent), Amritsar (1.54 percent) and Trivandrum (1.26 percent), according to the official.

Lesser arrivals were registered at Ahmedabad (0.99 percent), Jaipur (0.28), Tiruchinapalli (0.21), Gaya (0.08), Lucknow (0.02) and Varanasi (0.02).

The top 10 originating countries for the tourist arrivals were the United Kingdom (22.80 percent), the US (16.70), France (7.09), Germany (7.02), Australia (5.53), Canada (4.39), Russia (3.99), China (2.93), Ukraine (2.14) and Spain (2.11).

Last year on November 27, the government launched the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), known as e-Tourist Visa for tourists from 113 countires at 16 big and small airports around the country.

Later, this month, on November 3 (2015), the e-Tourist Visa fee structure was revised by clubbing the 113 countries into four groups for charging differential rates up to $60 for different categories and bank charges slashed from $2 to just 2.5 percent of the e-Tourist Visa fees.