e-Visa facility at airport evokes moderate response

Foreign arrivals to improve with monsoon picking up pace

Published - June 03, 2017 01:15 am IST - Kozhikode

About 150 to 200 foreigners arrive at the Calicut airport daily.

About 150 to 200 foreigners arrive at the Calicut airport daily.

Two months after its launch, the response to the visa-on-arrival (e-Visa) facility for foreign tourists in Kozhikode has been moderate.

Most foreigners who arrive at the Calicut International Airport are from the Gulf countries, especially the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. The e-Visa facility was rolled out from April 1. “About 150 to 200 foreigners arrive at the Calicut airport daily. However, only 10 to 15 arrive via Electronic Travel Authorisation,” said an official attached to Foreigners Regional Registration Office, Kozhikode.

Foreigners can apply online prior to 72 hours of their departure. Most of them come for medial treatment particularly Ayurveda for a period of up to six months. However, they can extend their stay on the recommendation of their doctors.

“The arrivals are likely to improve in the coming months. Many will land in Kerala once the mercury level rises in the Middle East. The e- Visa project has improved the tourism sector. People from European countries arrive on business visa. But their number is negligible,” she said.

Passenger traffic

The e-Visa facility is available at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports. The flow of foreign tourists is comparatively high in these two airports.

However, the passenger traffic in all the three airports is almost the same.

More tourists are likely to explore north Kerala via Kozhikode with the Ministry of Home Affairs extending the window for application under the e-Visa scheme. The duration of stay on e-Visa has been extended from 30 days to 60 days with dual entry on e-tourist and e-business visa and triple entry on e-medical visa.

The Calicut airport has set up three exclusive counters at the arrival terminal for e-Visa tourists. The daily average flight movement is 72. Of this, 60 are international flights. The foreign arrivals may take a turn for the better with the southwest monsoon picking up pace.

The percentage share of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India a month is highest in Delhi airport (31.25 %) followed by Mumbai (13.75%). The share of Kochi and Thiruvanthapuram airports is 2.4% and 1.2%. The Ministry of Tourism has begun the process of gathering data on FTAs and FTAs on e-Visa at the Calicut airport.

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