Exponential Growth in Foreign Visitors after Expansion of e-Tourist Visa Facility
The e-Tourist Visa scheme notched a phenomenal growth of 1987.9 per cent in terms of tourist arrivals in October 2015 when 56,477 tourists landed in India compared to just 2,705 in the same month last year, an official said here on Wednesday.
Similarly, between January-October 2015 a total of 258,182 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa compared to 21,995 in the same period in 2014, registering a growth of 1073.8 per cent, virtually spelling a goldmine for the country’s tourism industry.
This robust growth is attributed mainly to introduction of e-Tourist Visas to 113 countries as compared to earlier when only 12 countries were covered under it. In terms of arrivals in October 2015, the maximum share was grabbed by New Delhi airport with 50.93 per cent of all tourists landing there, followed by Mumbai airport (20.54 per cent). Bengaluru stood next (5.90 per cent), Chennai (5.61 per cent), Goa (4.39 per cent), Kochi (3.71 per cent), Hyderabad (2.29 per cent), Kolkata (2.23 per cent), Amritsar (1.54 per cent) and Trivandrum (1.26 per cent), according to the official.
Lesser arrivals were registered at Ahmedabad (0.99 per cent), Jaipur (0.28), Tiruchinapalli (0.21), Gaya (0.08), Lucknow (0.02) and Varanasi (0.02). The top 10 originating countries for the tourist arrivals were the United Kingdom (22.80 per cent), the US (16.70), France (7.09), Germany (7.02), Australia (5.53), Canada (4.39), Russia (3.99), China (2.93), Ukraine (2.14) and Spain (2.11).
Last year on November 27, the government launched the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), known as e-Tourist Visa for tourists from 113 countires at 16 big and small airports around the country. Later, this month, on November 3 (2015), the e-Tourist Visa fee structure was revised by clubbing the 113 countries into four groups for charging differential rates up to $60 for different categories and bank charges slashed from $2 to just 2.5 per cent of the e-Tourist Visa fees.