Terming the e-visa initiative as a “game-changer” for tourism sector, Tourism Ministry has asked Union Home Ministry to extend the facility to the citizens of 36 more countries, including Turkey, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
“E-visa has proved to be a game changer. We have recently wrote to the Home Ministry to consider granting e-visa to the citizens of 36 more countries which are important from tourism point of view,” Secretary, Tourism Ministry, Vinod Zutshi said.
The Home Ministry has informed that the request was being processed, he said, and expressed hope that soon these countries would be in the list of nations availing of the facility.
Launched in November 2014, the scheme was initially available for the citizens of 113 countries, it was further extended for the nationals of 37 more countries this year, taking the total numbers to 150.
Some of the names of the countries which have been recommended for granting the e-visa facility include Maldives, Iran, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethopia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kazakhstan, Zutshi said.
“These are the source countries…If e-visa is extended to these countries, it would lead to increase in footfalls from such nations,” he added.
Stating that e-visa has received a “great response” from visitors, he said there has been an increase of whopping 273% at 4.71 lakh tourist availing of the facility during January to June this year as compared to 1.26 lakh during the corresponding period last year.
Last year, the facility was available for 113 countries but it was increased to 150 in February this year, whose full impact would be seen in the coming days, he said.
Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation.
On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.