India looks to attract more foreign travellers

The recently-held National Conference of Tourism Ministers, which was attended by state tourism ministers of 19 states, secretaries of tourism and senior officials.

August 21, 2019

The Ministry of Tourism has proposed to reduce e-visa fees, while offering the option of short-term and long-term tourist e-visas

The new Incredible India portal will soon be available in various foreign languages such as Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish

137 new mountain peaks have been opened by the authorities for foreigners desirous of obtaining a Mountaineering Visa (‘MX’)

The Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) portal was launched, which is an e-learning programme for Indian citizens

At the National Conference of Tourism Ministers held on August 20, Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel announced that the Ministry of Tourism has proposed to reduce the e-visa fee, while also offering the option of short-term and long-term tourist e-visas, to attract more foreign travellers to the country.

The short duration e-visa for tourists would have a validity of one month at a charge of US$25 during peak tourist season (July – March). To attract more tourists during the lean period (April – June), the visa fee may become as low as US$10. Meanwhile, the validity of a regular e-visa, which costs US$80, is proposed to be increased to 5-years with multiple entries, while for a one-year visa, tourists might have to pay only US$40. The visa fee reduction has been approved by the Home Ministry and is now under consideration by the Ministry of External Affairs. 

At the event, Prahlad Patel asked different state governments to organize surveys to understand how the foreign tourists perceive India. He also launched the Hindi version of the new Incredible India portal, and announced that the Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish versions of the website would be launched within a month. Addressing the participants, he said that India has great potential in nature tourism and should focus on adventure tourism to attract more tourists. The Government has opened 137 new mountain peaks for foreigners desirous of obtaining mountaineering visa.

In order to promote night tourism, the Culture Ministry has decided to open 10 historical monuments till 9 pm for common visitors across the country. He urged the States and Union Territories to follow suit. Additionally, the Tourism Minister ahs launched the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Certification (IITFC) portal. This is a digital programme where Indian citizens can learn about tourism at their own pace. The successful completion of this programme would enable the learner to become a Certified Tourist Facilitator of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

India saw 10 million foreign arrivals in 2017, and the government is planning to increase this to 20 million by 2020. These steps are sure to help increase the number of foreign tourists exponentially in the coming years.