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India's e-tourist visa programme continues to gain traction, with a sharp rise in applications in October 2016.

Updated: Thursday, Dec 01, 2016

According to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Tourism, a total of 105,268 e-visas were issued to international visitors last month, up 86.4% compared to the 56,477 issued in October 2015. This also reflects however, the expansion of the scheme in the last year.

UK travellers accounted for the highest number of e-visas issued in October 2016 (22.9% of the total), followed by the US (12.1%). These two markets were by far the largest, with France (6.6%), China (5.8%) and Russia (5.6%) completing the top five.

More than half the e-visas were issued at Delhi airport (51.7%), followed by Mumbai (18.7%) and Goa (6.2%).

The e-tourist visa service is now available to the citizens of 150 countries arriving at 16 Indian airports.

For the first 10 months of 2016, India has now issued a total of 780,570 e-visas, up more than 200% year-on-year.



UK joins India's E-Visa countries

Updated: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

The introduction of E-visa had been great news for the national tourism industry and furthermore the e-visas have now been extended to the British passport holders which has been hailed as a big step forward by event professionals in both countries.

Till now, British nationals spent fee of £89.44 and now they have to spend £39 and get the visas online within 72 hours. The entire process has been made smooth and easy.

“I was recently in the UK on my annual sales trip and one of the questions that I was asked consistently was with regard to the visa. The e-visa is great news, a positive step in the right direction. I do anticipate MICE companies in the UK proposing India now more than before and this will ultimately result in more business to India.” said Sarvin Warden, partner at Indian destination management company Designer Incentives.



Indian Tourism boosted with E-visas available in 77 countries across the world

Updated: Friday, Aug 07, 2015

Since November 2014, Indian Government has initiated a new program, making it easy for the tourist across the globe to visit India and enjoy a hassle free entry to the country. Initially started with a few countries, e-visas have now been extended to 77 countries with China joining the latest league after Hon. Prime Ministers visit to the country. The government is planning to implement this program in 150 countries in the coming year.

Tourists intending to visit the country for sightseeing and cultural interests were given the facility of applying for Visa online and obtaining the same within four days on email. This proved beneficial for the overall Indian economy as the program experienced a sudden rise in the number of tourists visiting India.

Furthermore, the entire process was made so easy that all the applier has to do is upload a photo along with a copy of passport and pay the fees online and the visa is processed and sent to them within 72 hours. After the introduction of these visa categories, within the first half of 2015, total of 126,214 tourist applied for E-Visa's which were more compared to 11,953 tourists visiting the country last year.

41.7% of total tourists were from the United States, while Australia, Germany, Canada, South Korea etc. formed the rest. Out of the four arrival points, Delhi airport issued the maximum number of visas: 43.1%, while Mumbai issued 22.3%, Bengaluru at third position with 11.7% and Hyderabad a last position with 4.9% visa issued on arrival. Since June 2015, Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow, Trichy, Varanasi and Ahmedabad are the new added arrival points. The change in policy did draw more takers among tourists, particularly from countries like the US and Russia.

The government is further planning to extend the E-Visa bid to 150 countries with a hope of increasing the tourism in India.



India Extends E-Tourist Visa Program to 31 more Nations from Today

Updated: Friday, May 1, 2015

As per the statement released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 31 more countries from around the world would be able to enjoy the e-Tourist Visa scheme from May 01, 2015. With this new accession now the total number of India E-Tourist eligible nations is 76.

The name of new countries added in the list are- Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Cayman Island, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominic an Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Georgia, Grenada, Haiti, HolySee (Vatican), Honduras, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St.Kitts and Nevis, and Seychelles.

All the steps are being taken to lead the scheme in a phased manner. The Government is expected to extend the system to 150 countries by the end of the 2015.

The government of India launched the e-Tourist Visa with its former name Tourist Visa on arrival enabled by ETA on 26th November last year to 45 countries from nine different Airports in India.



India Tourist Visa on Arrival renamed as E-Tourist Visa

Updated: Friday, April 24, 2015

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has changed the name of renowned Tourist Visa on Arrival-ETA to e-Tourist Visa (eTV) from 15th April 2015. However the other changes and extension of the scheme will be in phased manner and will not get affected due to the name change.

The government has taken the step of changing the name to eTV because TVoA-ETA was creating confusion among the tourists visiting to India. Most of the applicants due to the name assumed that India ETA is granted on arrival, while in fact the visa is given to foreign nationals prior to their travel. The Home Affairs Ministry had also received requests for name change from some Indian embassies.

A committee was formed comprising officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, and Bureau of Immigration (BoI) to formulate a new name for the visa scheme. While a contest was also conducted on mygov.in, inviting suggestions for the name.

Keeping in mind all the points of the visa application process, the committee formed suggested e-Tourist Visa as an appropriate new name for the scheme.



Indians top the list of visitors to Bahrain using e-visa facilities during Oct'14-Feb'15; more sops come their way in terms of multi-entry e-visas for extended stay

Updated: Friday, April 10, 2015

For frequent Indian travellers to Bahrain, there is real good news! From April 1, 2015, one can have permission for multiple entries using e-visa facility to Bahrain within a span of three months, allowed up to a cumulative stay of 1 month. The citizens of India can apply for multi-entry e-visas on the official website of the Government of Bahrain (www.evisa.gov.bh). Those Indians staying in the Gulf Coastal Countries (GCC) will also be eligible for the same, for which they have to apply online and may get the same on arrival.

This was just the second phase of update in its visa policy for the Kingdom of Bahrain that was initially introduced in October, 2014. Since then, 752 Indian nationals have visited Bahrain using this facility out of approximately 2300 e-visas approved by the Kingdom till February, 2015. This is almost 33% share of the total number of e-visas issued during this period, a facility that was extended to 32 countries at the time of introduction.

Bahrain
 

The Assistant Undersecretary to the General Directorate of Ntaionality, Passports and Residence Affairs for the Ministry of Interior, Government of Bahrain, Mr. Shaikh Ahmed Bin Isa Al Khalifa, said, "We are pleased that the data shows that a significant number of Indians are already benefiting from a greater ease of access into Bahrain, supporting the business and tourism sectors in the Kingdom. The second phase of updates will lead to further benefits for Indian visitors, with increased flexibility and expanded eligibility."

The large share of Indian nationals in the use of e-visa facilities to Bahrain clearly underlies the close connect between the two countries in terms of business. The same was reiterated by Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), by saying. "India is one of Bahrain's most important trading partners, with total non-oil trade between the two countries in excess of USD 1.2 billion per year. Bahrain's new visa policy will improve access for Indians and Indian businesses to the Bahrain and GCC market, currently worth USD 1.6 trillion and expected to reach USD 2 trillion by 2020. The new visa policy is an important development that places Bahrain among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region."

The authorities are making sure there is continual improvement in this newly introduced e-visa regime, particularly in screening of the individual details submitted, so that the main purpose of ensuing faster processing of applications is never hampered.



26 countries seek Indian help in evacuating nationals from disturbed Yemen; 3,300 Indians already back home safely!

Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's time to take some pride in the international scenario for India, thanks to the valiant attempts by the Government of India in evacuating people from the disturbed Yemen. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Mr. Syed Akbarduddin, reached out on the micro-blogging site about this, informing that 26 countries till now have requested for assistance to evacuate their citizens too from Yemen.

So far, it was the USA taking such leading steps in scenarios of international crises, but this time, countries including Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Egypt, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore and even the USA have sought India's assistance. The SAARC countries have all looked up to India too for the same assistance. While there is still no request from Pakistan, Indian contingent have been evacuating the Pakistani nationals too in their attempts so far.

YEMEN
 

On the other side, speaking to ANI, Mr. V.K. Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs of India commented that “overseeing the evacuation of Indians from Yemen is less exciting than going to the Pakistan embassy." He referred to the evacuation exercise as a critical process, but confirmed the government is determined to take out as many people as possible in the least gap of time.

India's count went up to 3,300+ in its “Operation Rahat", the name given to the evacuation process, after 1,052 nationals were added to the tally of people rescued from the domestic war-hit Yemen on Monday. While 574 of them were rescued via Sanaa in Saudi Arabia by Air India, making three trips for the purpose, another 479 nationals were evacuated from Al Hudaydah by INS Mumbai.

With most of the Indian nationals rescued by this time, the MEA of India is considering closure of this massive operation in a couple of days' time!

Pakistan had also rescued 11 Indian nationals from Al Mukallah recently.The rescued people were being taken to Djibouti wherefrom they will fly back home in Indian Air Force fleet.

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi was all praise about the performance of various ministries of his government in this evacuation exercise, especially hailing the "seamless" operation jointly among them. In a series of tweets, he underlined that the whole exercise not only reflected the deep desire of the government of India in safeguarding its nationals worldwide but also about helping the others unconditionally, which belies India's age old traditional ethos.

"Salute the services of our civilian & defence officials & organisations in helping evacuate our citizens from Yemen. Continue your efforts," he exclaimed.

"Seamless co-operation between organisations- MEA, Navy, Air Force, Air India, Shipping, Railways & State Govts greatly helped in rescue work," the Prime Minister also added.

He also aired special words of praise for his External Affairs Minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj, and the Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. (Retd.) V.K. Singh, for their devoted efforts.

Colleagues @SushmaSwaraj & @Gen_VKSingh (who has been on the ground for days), have co-ordinated evacuation efforts in an exemplary manner," Mr. Modi tweeted.

Yemen has been strife-torn over the last couple of weeks following the ongoing battle between the Saudi-backed coalition and the Shiite rebels on the other side. The rebels have stormed into many major cities of Yemen, forcing the President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to abandon his former stronghold areas and seek refuge overseas for safety.



Bodhgaya visa- a boost for diplomatic negotiations

Updated: Monday, March 9, 2015

Soon visitors from selected countries would be able to get an India ETA at Bihar International airport with easier immigration rules than New Delhi. The impressive step is taken as a result of the Prime Minister's latest bidding to employ India's Buddhist heritage to boost up its diplomatic negotiations with East and Southeast Asian countries.

As told by senior government officials, the Narendra Modi government is auditing every possible chance of allowing Bodhgaya to offer visa-on-arrival facilities to visitors from selected nations.

 

Thought the plan involves numerous logistical challenges, but chances are that the idea would soon be brought into reality, officials said. "We're thinking of making an exception for Bodhgaya," an official involved in the planning said on Tuesday.

Currently the facility of VoA is available for nationals of 44 countries- which includes the US, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and most of the Pacific Islands. While plans are under process to extend the facility to 150 countries, soon.

Bodhgaya, which is situated seven km north from the airport receives the highest number of foreign tourists, way more than any other city of Bihar. Thus, the plans of starting up VoA here could be a positive step towards improvising tourism in the country.

Visitors looking forward to get Visa on Arrival will first have to apply online for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Once their ETA is processed and approved, they can land at airports with the approval and get their VoA stamped at the airport itself.



"Easy visa on arrival facility for India set to expand up to 150 countries now!"

Updated: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Union Budget has something to cheer for everybody, but for the tourism industry, it has showered in unexpected joy! In the budget announced on Saturday last, the FM has expressed the willingness of the government to extend the Visa on Arrival (VoA) enabled Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to as many as 150 countries.

"Last year VoA was issued to 43 countries. As tourism in the country has increased, I propose to increase the countries covered under this to 150", is what Arun Jaitley apprised of to the Parliament! It will be the steepest rise in the number of nations covered under VoA services in a single financial year!

 

The government had increased the number of countries from 12 to 43 only in November, 2014, which included the USA, Israel, Palestine and Japan, besides others. This resulted in a whopping 1215% rise in foreign tourist footfall to the country in January 2015. The number went up from a mere 1,903 of January 2014 to 25,023 in the same month in 2015.

This hassle-free process can go a long way in fetching up the meagre 0.6% average annual share of international tourist footfall in to India as compared to 7.8% in France and 6.4% in the USA.

The ministry in one of its latest releases had attributed the exponential growth in international tourist footfall to India to the introduction of this fast and easy service to 43 more countries last year.

The facility enables a foreigner to visit India within 30 days of application for ETA via VoA, and to stay up to a maximum period of 30 days in India after arrival.

The VoA services enable one to enter and leave India through any of its 9 international airports- New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Goa and Thiruvananthapuram.

 



Tourism in India is Expected to Boost-Up with Visa-on-Arrival Facility

Updated: Monday, March 2, 2015

NEW DELHI: With the recent financial budget given by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley where he proposed to extend visa on arrival facility to 150 countries to promote tourism in the nation, the tourism industry is expected to take a huge leap forward.

The Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, today in an official release said that currently we provide VoA to 43 nations, while increasing it to 150 countries will for sure help the tourism industry to boost up to a great extent.

 

The Minister further said, "the growth of tourism was very important for the overall growth of India's economy, adding that the revenue from the tourism sector can be utilized for the development and extemporizing the country". Further to his statement he also added, "Tourism, in India is a very important and vital source of foreign exchange earnings and has high labor intensity".

Tourism Minister also said that the facility of Visa on Arrival along with the latest introduction of Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will help India to attain the India's share in international tourism.

In January 2015 the total no. of 25, 023 tourists have already entered the Indian territory, as compared to 1, 903 VoA a year-ago, thereby giving it a huge growth.



“Visa on Arrival: International Tourist Footfall goes up by 1215% in January!”

Updated: Saturday, February 28, 2015

With the introduction of Visa on Arrival (VoA) enabled Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) facilities last November, the number of foreign tourists coming in to India has shoot up exponentially, as reflected by the data released by the tourism ministry recently.

As compared to 1,903 foreign tourists who landed in India in January, 2014, using the VoA enabled ETA services, 25,023 tourists came in the same month in 2015, the data shows. It is a clear-cut and a whopping 1214.9% shoot-up in the footfall for the month compared back to back!

The government extended this facility to 43 countries in November, 2014, which was earlier available to only 12. Among the global tourists, those from the USA were highest at 23.71%, followed by the Republic of Korea (18.26%), the Russian Federation (14.06%), Ukraine /(9.99%), Australia (8.83%) and Germany (6.53%).

This facility is presently operational at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai international airports, along with five more, which are at Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi and Goa.



“ETA enabled Visa on Arrival pushes India’s foreign tourist count up by a whopping 1215%!”

Updated: Friday, February 27, 2015

The introduction of Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility through Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) facilities extended to as many as 43 countries has resulted in an enormous boost in the incoming of tourists to India. The data released by the tourism ministry shows an incredible jump of 1214.9% in the number of tourists checking in to India using the VoA services in January, 2015, as compared to the data of the same month last year.

In 2014, the number was a mere 1903 that has shot up ti 25,023 this year in January. The Government had extended the VoA enabled ETA scheme to 43 countries in November, 2014, which was restricted to only 12 countries prior to that.

The maximum influx of foreign tourists to India was from the United States, accounting for 23.71%, while Republic of Korea followed in closely with a share of 18.26%. The Russian Federation (14.06%), Ukraine (9.99%), Australia (8.83%) and Germany (6.53%) followed in closely.



"The IVFRT Project stresses on extending tourist visa on arrival facilities through ETA": Rajnath

Updated: Monday, February 23, 2015

It was in the presence of several dignitaries in the meeting of the Consultative Committee of MP’s under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India that ShriRajnath Singh, the Union Home Minister, unveiled details of the high profile Immigration, Visa, Foreigners Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) Project. He informed the meeting attended by ShriKirenRijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri L.C. Goyal, Home Secretary, Smt. SnehLata Kumar, Secretary (Border Management) and senior officers of the ministry and Central Armed Police Forces that the IVFRT is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). The project would cover 178 Indian Missions globally, 13 Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRO’s) and 83 Immigration Check Posts (ICP’s) in India.

A press release by the Home Ministry informed about the proceedings of the meeting, also stating that issuing Tourist Visa on arrival through Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an integral part of the IVFRT Project. About 65000 ETA visas have been issued over 75 days, which marks a steep jump of 421.6% in tourist arrival during December 2014 as compared to the data for the month in 2013. The ETA facilities were initiated in November 2014 and as many as 44 countries were included under the visa on arrival facility. The same has been extended to a few more countries including the UK recently, and the IVFRT Project will ensure an increase in the number of countries included under ETA visa facilities very soon.



Tourism Promotion Takes Place to Manage Rouble Crisis in Eastern Europe: ETA Chairman

Updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2015

While Russia is the largest contributor of foreign tourists into the country, Egypt is consciously attempting to allure more tourists from Asia and the rest of Europe. Daily News Egypt spoke to Mr.Samy Mahmoud, the head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority:

DNE: First, how do you see the Russian rouble crisis and its impact on tourists flow to Egypt?.
Mahmoud:Russia has been traditionally the largest partner to Egypt in tourism. Last year, about three million of foreign visitors to Egypt were from Russia out of the total of ten million. The number may go down owing in 2015 due to the EU sanctions, but the Ministry of Tourism has proposed to the government to slash the entrance fees for the Russian tourists from this year.

DNE: How do you see East and South Asian markets?
Mahmoud: Egypt has always remained on top of the tourism spots for visit to people from Japan and India, especially owing to the close cultural ties these countries share with us. Out of my two years’ experience of working in Japan, I know that the Japanese and Chinese tourists spend as high as USD 250 per night. We are also attempting towards increase in flight connectivity with these regions.

DNE: Egypt’s presence in these markets depends on EgyptAir’s flights. How do you overcome this issue?
Mahmoud: We understand this problem and are working with several authorities to boost flight connectivity with Asia, Europe and worldwide. We signed a protocol with India recently that underlines our joint efforts in attracting up to 300,000 tourists from India by end of 2015.

DNE: What about the traditional markets?
Mahmoud: We value our traditional market immensely as they make up for almost 72% of our tourists. We have launched special tourism promotion campaigns in the Arab world, especially the eastern countries to attract tourists to our coastal cities in the Red Sea and South Sinai.

DNE: How do you see 2015 in light of the recent terrorist attacks?
Mahmoud:Everyone in Europe is aware of the ability of the Egyptian tourism sector to bounce back in the past. Even with increased risks of terrorism presently, we have grown by over 25% in revenue from 2013 to 2014

ETA Facility UK- A ray of hope for Indian travelers

Updated: Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For the UK travellers wanting to visit India for a tourism trip, there is a bright ray of hope in easing out the visa procedures into the country. While exchanging his views with TravelBizMonitor recently, the British High Commissioner to India, Sir James Bevan KCMG, has put some light on the efforts being taken to enable the access to Visa-on-Arrival facility through Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). "We understand that there are plans to include the UK and a few other countries in subsequent lists," he said on a positive note during the interaction soon after unveiling a special supplement of VisitBritain India, titled "Great Britain-The Ultimate Indian Family Vacation". He was attending the SATTE at New Delhi for the occasion.

Sir Bevan also reflected to the efforts already put in by the British authorities in easing out the visa procedures for Indian travellers into the UK. "India was the first country that was offered same-day visa for business travellers. It is a super-premium offer whereby people can get visa within a single day of application by paying more than the standard fee," he added in this context.

There are many people who desire to have visa for multiple destinations at one go. Britain has ensured the passport pass-back service for Indian travellers last year in an effort to make it easier for the Indian travellers. Sir Bevan also informed about 90% efficiency of the British system of ETA Visa-on-Arrival for Indian applicants getting through the visa procedure successfully.

Quite logically, he then added a similar effort if reflected from the Indian side for the UK travellers will benefit both the nations to the maximum. On concerns of suspected terrorists taking advantage of the ETA system for Visa-on-Arrival, he was quick to point out that the threats have been existing for quite some time.But when it comes to Britain, chances are automatically less since there has been a steep fall in crime rates inside the country over the past decade.

About the “Make in India” program launched recently, Sir Bevan pointed out that the British firms have been “Making in India” since long and hoped that newer opportunities will open up in the fields of education, healthcare, defence, etc. between the two countries through the “Make in India” concept in near future.


Rise in foreign travelers after government allows Visa on Arrival

Updated: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A growth of approximately 421.6% was recorded in December 2014, where the total number of 14, 083 TVoAs were issued in December 2014. 

India welcomed a huge number of tourists from all over the world in the month of December 2014, soon after the facility of TVoA was started by the government. Electronic Travel Authorization or ETA made it easy for travelers to apply for the India Visa and save their time of going to the embassy and standing in long queues.

According to the data released by tourism ministry on 19th January, 14,083 TVoAs were issued in the month of December, against 2,700 in December 2013. This calculates a growth of approximately 421.6%.
 

Out of nine airports, New Delhi airport received the highest percentage of visa applications, followed by Mumbai, Goa, Chennai and Bangalore

This online visa scheme can be availed by the visitors from 43 countries. It only requires the applicant to visit the visa provider website and fill in the visa form. Once the application is approved, the confirmation is sent to him/her via email, authorizing their travel to India. On arrival at the Indian airport, the holder of the visa has to present the authorization to the immigration department who would further stamp their passports with the visa.

The top 10 countries that availed ETA in December 2014:

  • US (24.26%)
  • Russian Federation (15.06%)
  • South Korea (11.01%)
  • Ukraine (8.16%)
  • Australia (7.98%)
  • New Zealand (5.08%)
  • Japan (4.3%)
  • Singapore (4.27%)
  • Germany (4.05%)
  • Philippines (3.1%)
 


Slow response to ETA initiative worries Indian Government

Updated: Monday, January 12, 2015

Though the facility of VOA and online Visa for India, which was announced by the Government last year has already started, but the authorities are not quite happy with the numbers. In starting 40 days, the Bureau in total has received 30,000 visa applications, out of which 26, 600 ETA’s have been approved till date.

While speaking with the media at a recent event by The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) in Delhi, the Commissioner of Immigration, Bureau of Immigration, Government of India, P K Bharadwaj, said that the agency is accepting a much large number of tourists from the ETA eligible nations, but the results are not satisfactory.

Further, he added that the travel trade and industry have not been able to market the initiative in foreign markets so far. “We are prepared for a much bigger load, which is not happening,”

When a few delays in the processing of the VoA at the airport counters are pointed out, Bhardwaj said that, as said the processing is done with minimum of five minutes, however, he assured that proper steps will be taken to resolve such issues which are brought to his notice during the conference.

Subhash Goyal, President, IATO, while speaking at the same event urged the members to   do their best to accomplish the assurance given to the government by the Association to double the number of tourists traveling to India in next two years. He also demanded to increase the number of countries who can apply for VoA, such as The UK, Spain, France, China, Etc.



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Holder of India Tourist ETA is eligible for a stay of up to 30 days in India. This is a single entry visa and can only be issued twice in a year.