Unbelievably true, stupendous, fabulous…………. Government of India announced an absolute stunner of news for tourism lovers. GOI has liberalized of the visa regime and extended it to cover 180 countries. The government on Wednesday cleared two initiatives; one was visa on arrival and second was the electronic travel authorization for all countries barring eight countries.
ETA or Electronic Travel Authorization will allow foreign travelers to apply for a visa from home and receive an online confirmation in five working days. A sigh of relieve to everyone who is planning to come to India. But wait this is not immediate and not activated for all airports. It will take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place and the roll out should happen by the beginning of next season i.e. October 2014 and commence with 9 airports initially. The airports are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Goa and Trivandrum. Both facilities are likely to be implemented by the end of the year.
ETA will be available for a 30-day period from the date of the tourist’s arrival in India while VOA will also be for the same period for a single entry. A separate website would be set up for extending the facility to foreigners intending to visit India as tourists. In order to secure a VISA they would need to apply on the designated website and pay the required fees. They would be granted an electronic version of the visa within three working days.
This has come as real relief to the tourism trade which has been reeling under pressure this year. This news has bolstered the spirit of all those in the tourism fraternity as once it becomes a reality it will be the “game changer” for not only tourism but also for India as a nation.