India takes e-visa facility to 36 more countries

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E Visa post 14.7.2016-02

India takes e-visa facility to 36 more countries

Travellers from overseas looking to India as a holiday or business destination will soon have more reason to cheer. India plans to extend its e-travel visa scheme to another 36 countries. The scheme, launched in November 2013, is currently offered to travellers from 150 countries.

The new countries included under the ambit of the scheme include  Italy, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the Maldives, Bahrain, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Morocco, among others. Ministry officials says that the online service led to a steep rise in foreign tourist arrivals.

Under the e-tourist visa program, prospective visitors can apply and pay for an Indian visa online. Once approved, applicants are issued an email that authorizes them to travel to the country.

Data from the tourism ministry shows that a total of 471,909 tourists arrived in the country on an e-visa during January-June 2016, as compared to 126,214 visitors in the same period last year. The government feels that the introduction of e-tourist visas for 150 countries in February 2016 as compared to 76 countries earlier was responsible for the stupendous growth in tourist arrivals.

The ministry says that the e-visa facility is most popular with travellers from the US, drawing the maximum number of tourists (23.22 per cent), followed by the UK (14.16 per cent). China with 6.91 per cent and Australia with 5.59 per cent follow close behind.