E-Visa Scheme Booming, 1.69 Million Tourists Visited India in 2017, Says Home Minister 

As many as 1.69 million tourists availed the e-Visa facility to visit India in 2017, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.


India’s electronic Tourist Visa (e-Visa) has seen a surge, with 1.69 million foreigners using the facility to travel to the country in 2017, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sept. 16. This number is 57 percent more than that in 2016, Singh said while inaugurating “Paryatan Parv,” a 12-day tourism festival.

The Indian e-Visa has become a game-changer for India’s tourism sector and is now available for citizens of 166 countries who want to travel to India business and medical treatment, PTI reported, citing the minister.

“During 2017, a total of 1.69 million foreign tourists arrived on e-Visa as compared to 1.08 million during 2016, registering a blistering growth of 57.2 percent,” the news agency quoted the minister as saying.

India has significantly relaxed the process of obtaining the e-Visa, making it easier, faster, and cheaper for foreigners to travel to the country. “We have improved the ease of travel significantly through electronic visa,” Singh said.

The tourism sector in India is registering wonderful growth, which is much higher than the world average of 7 percent. “Foreign tourist arrivals during 2017 were 10.04 million with a growth rate of 14 percent as compared to 2016,” Singh said.

While several factors might have contributed to the rise, the minister said, “The country is full of traditions and customs. it is being developed as a tourist destination. The government is trying to increase tourism’s contribution in the GDP from seven to 10 percent.”

Under India’s e-visa scheme, applicants have to submit an online application and after it has been approved, they get an email authorizing them to travel to India. The tourist can travel with a print-out of this authorization. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then allow them entry into the country, PTI said.

The e-Visa scheme is for business, medical categories, and tourism, and visitors on e-Visa can stay in India for two months.

In the last week of July, the Ministry of Home Affairs had hiked the E-visa fee by up to 60 percent. While charges were increased from $75 to $100 for the United States and United Kingdom, the fee for others was hiked from $50 to $80, the Indian Express had reported earlier.

In 2017, India received 10.18 million foreign tourists. It was for the first time that foreign tourist arrivals crossed the 10-million mark, pushing the earnings from tourism to over $27 billion. India is now looking to double the figure with niche projects, such as cruise tourism, adventure tourism, and yoga tourism, the publication said.

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