India announce further relaxation on tourist visa regulations

The Indian government announced on 23rd October that they planning on further relaxing the visa regulations for tourism in an effort to boost tourism across the country.

“We plan to further liberalise our visa regime for tourism, business as well as other areas shortly,” Sushma Swaraj, external affairs minister said. In an effort to reduce real concerns among tourists and Indians living abroad she said that  the government would continue to address these concerns and simplify visa arrangements.

The e visa scheme was launched in 2014 and has been a huge success and plans have already been implemented this year to extend the e visa to another 37 more countries in 2016.  With an increase of 53% in foreign direct investment into India the government see overseas business and tourism as a vital part of their growth strategy. There has been a drive throughout the Foreign Ministry to motivate stated to attract all types of foreign investment.

Despite being home to some of the most iconic tourist destinations including Kerala, the Himalas, and the Taj Mahal tourism has struggled to thrive and with the downturn in the global economy and complex visa requirements India has not been able to complete with some of it’s Asian rivals. However, since the e visa implementation tourist figures have been on the increase and visitor numbers increase over 200% in the first six months of 2016.

It is little wonder then that the foreign ministry wants to build on this success by making both business and tourism visas more accessible.

Little more has been said by the ministry about how the visa rules will be restricted or simplified or how this will be rolled out there is hope that this will provide the springboard required to drive tourism and increased foreign investment towards the country.

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