Move will facilitate promotion of MICE tourism

Close on the heels of liberalising the tourist visa on arrival (T-VoA) for people from 11 countries, foreign tourists arriving in groups will be provided collective landing permits as part of a plan to boost their arrivals.

The collective landing permit will benefit the State as the Foreigner’s Registration offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode figure on the list where the tourists or travel agencies can submit the details 72 hours in advance.

The tourism industry will also benefit from group tours as the State is promoting MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tourism in a big way as Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kumarakom are favoured destinations for meetings and conventions.

Already, the Thiruvananthapuram international airport and the Cochin international airport had been designated as gateways to the country by the Union Government to grant the T-VoA to increase tourist arrivals. The decision to grant the collective landing permit taken by the Union government had been conveyed to the States, as the Foreigners Registration Office is involved, and stakeholders of tourism industry, official sources told The Hindu.

For 60 days

Foreign tourists in groups of four or more sponsored by the travel agencies approved by the Union Ministry of Tourism and with a pre-drawn itinerary will be provided a collective landing permit for a maximum of 60 days. Multiple entry facilities will also enable them to visit neighbouring countries.

For availing themselves of this facility, the tourists or travel agencies can fill in an application online. The list of members along with the printed visa application and their itinerary should have to be submitted to the Foreigner’s Registration Office concerned.

Along with the three major cities in the State, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Amritsar, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa and Lucknow figure on the list from where the facility will be available.

An undertaking will also have to be given to conduct the tour as per the itinerary and that no individual will be allowed to drop out from the group. Compared to the collective landing permit, the T-VoA is valid for 30 days. Those applying for the visa should not have a residence or occupation in India and hold a passport with minimum six-month validity.