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Updated: April 8, 2014 20:45 IST

ETA will help boost tourism in India: Tourism Secretary

Yuthika Bhargava
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A file picture of Secretary, Tourism Mr. Parvez Dewan. Photo: Nagara Gopal.
The Hindu A file picture of Secretary, Tourism Mr. Parvez Dewan. Photo: Nagara Gopal.

The move to grant in principle approval for Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to travellers from 180 countries to India will boost tourism in the country, Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan said on Tuesday.

“Travelling to India will be made easy once the ETA to visit the country becomes operational,” he said.

ETA, which will allow foreign travellers to apply for a visa from home and receive an online confirmation in five working days, is expected to become operational by October. Barring eight prior reference countries, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, government has decided to give e-visa to all the 180 countries.

Mr. Dewan added that during the past year, India had considerably relaxed its visa regime and expanded the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) scheme.

India launched the VoA scheme in January 2010 for citizens of five countries – Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore — visiting India for tourism purposes. The scheme was later extended to six more countries in January 2011.

Further, the secretary said that a dedicated helpline for inbound tourists will be launched in a year. "Tourism Infoline in 12 languages will become operational in about a year," he said.

The Infoline – a dedicated call centre -- will provide information regarding tourist-related facilities and services available in the country.

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Recently I was a tourist in Jaipur and Mahabalipuram. I was shocked to find that in both places they separate Indian tourists and foreign tourists and charge the foreign tourists 5 to 25 times more to enter old ruins and palaces. The foreigners are selected by their colour and facial features. Is it really necessary to stoop to such low levels to extract money from foreign tourists thinking that they can afford to pay. What happens if Indian tourists are separated from others in the UK and charged two to five times the entrance fees to museums and other historical spots. As a matter of fact Indian tourists visiting Europe are very well off than foreign tourists coming to India who use their savings and pension to buy their tickets. It is better to increase the charges for local tourists by 10% and charge the same for foreign tourists. This makes it a more civilized treatment of foreign tourists.

from:  bcmanyan
Posted on: Apr 9, 2014 at 12:50 IST

When will these guys understand that we don't come because of the filth, the
garbage everywhere, the chaos on your streets.

Think about it this way. If it causes you stress, it causes us a 1000 times more. Our
societies are clean,orderly. Make India clean and orderly, and the world will come!

from:  Sam Taylor
Posted on: Apr 9, 2014 at 07:16 IST
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