Fast growing Tiruchi international airport has seen a marked rise in the number of foreign tourist arrivals on e-Tourist Visa this year.
The rising trend is evident from the figures of foreigners availing themselves of this facility at this non-metro airport which witnesses nearly 800 foreign flight movements (both arrival and departure) on an average every month.
The number of foreigners’ arrivals on e-tourist visa at Tiruchi airport has already exceeded the 10,000 mark till date in the current year from January, airport sources told The Hindu . This figure is nearly double than what was recorded in the whole of calendar year 2016 (January – December) when foreigners arrivals on e-Tourist Visa were a little over 5,800 at Tiruchi airport.
Ever since e-tourist visa system was launched at Tiruchi airport in August 2015, the number of overseas nationals availing themselves of this facility is on the rise. On an average nearly 20 to 30 foreigners arrive at the Tiruchi airport making use of this facility every day, said the sources.
Many overseas nationals land at Tiruchi armed with ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) document generated online with the stamping done by the Bureau of Immigration officials deployed at the dedicated counters created for such foreign passengers at the new international terminal building here.
There are four separate counters at Tiruchi airport to exclusively deal with foreigners arriving with ETA. Bio-metric details of such passengers are captured by the Immigration officials prior to stamping, said the sources.
The Central government in a bid to boost tourism in the country extended the e-tourist visa facility to seven non-metro international airports in the country including Tiruchi, Jaipur, Varanasi and Amritsar in August 2015.
This came at a time when there was a steady rise in overseas flight services from Tiruchi. Presently, Tiruchi has direct connectivity to Colombo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Sharjah every day.The number of daily flights in the Tiruchi - Kuala Lumpur – Tiruchi sector is the highest with seven flights every day operated by Air Asia and Malindo Air.
Malaysians, Singaporeans and Sri Lankans are the top three among overseas citizens making use of the e-Tourist Visa facility to land at Tiruchi airport armed with Electronic Travel Authorisation generated online and with the respective nation’s passport, said the sources.
According to Union Ministry of Tourism compiling monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) on e-Tourist Visas, Tiruchi airport figured among the top 15 ports the country in FTA arrivals on e-Tourist Visa during September and October.
The e-Tourist Visa scheme was also made available for foreigners coming on business visit and for medical purposes besides tourism since April 1.