More People Coming from UK to India on E-Tourist Visa
The number of people seeking the e-visa has increased since it was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2015.
The number of British people opting for an e-visa to India increased from 82,751 in 2015 to 327,798 in 2017. Meanwhile, the number of people from the United Kingdom applying for the in-person visa, which was the traditional route, decreased from 233,005 in 2015 to 103,233 in 2017.
The cost of the e-visa is also much less than the traditional visa. While the charges for the e-visa are around £53 (excluding a 2.5% bank transaction charge), and the traditional in-person visa costs nearly £120.
“India is a very important destination for the UK travel industry with almost a million visits in 2017, a combination of leisure, business trips and people visiting friends and family,” a spokesperson of the Association of British Travel Agents told the Hindustan Times. “The introduction of the e-visa system has helped make the process of visiting India much more straightforward but it is important that applicants always use the official application channels to avoid unnecessary charges,” they said.
The Indian missions in the United Kingdom have received complaints from British nationals after they have paid more through fraudulent websites for the e-visa, HT quoted sources at the Ministry of External Affairs as saying.
There has been a steady increase of foreign tourists from the United Kingdom since the e-visa was introduced in the country in 2015. Earlier, tourists had to be present in person at one of the 13 Indian missions to get a visa, a process seen as arduous, which became a deterrent.
With the e-visa, a tourist from the United Kingdom can enter India twice in a 60-day period, while with a regular visa a tourist can have multiple entries in a six-month period.
According to data from the Indian Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourist arrivals in December 2017 grew by 15.2 per cent over December 2016, while there was a 48.3 per cent growth on e-Tourist visa during the same period. At least 10.41 per cent of the arrivals in December 2017 were from the United Kingdom alone. Tourists from the United Kingdom made up 17.5 per cent of tourists on e-visas in December 2017.
India earned $27 billion from its foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs), which crossed the 10-million mark, in 2017.