Among the initiatives in India’s new budget is the implementation of a new e-visa program designed to encourage more tourism.
Good news out of India! If you’ve always dreamed of visiting India, doing so may soon be easier than it ever has been before. According to the Times of India, the Indian government recently released its annual budget, and this year’s financial forecast shows a new and unexpected focus on tourism. Currently tourism makes up 6.6% of India’s gross domestic product and accounted for nearly 40 million jobs in 2012. While those numbers may seem high, India actually lags behind in tourism compared to many other countries. According to the 2013 World Economic Forum study, India ranked 65 out of 140 countries in tourism competitiveness.
It seems that the Indian government is finally trying to change that. Contained within the new budget were a number of initiatives focused on improving India’s tourism industry. Among the initiatives is the implementation of electronic visas. The government plans to implement e-visas within six months.
Up until now, getting India visas has always been a somewhat complicated and muddled process. A few years ago, India hired a third party company to handle all of its visa processing. Just a few months back, that company was fired and replaced by another company after numerous complaints of delays and lost visas. The new India e-visas will hopefully make matters simpler for travelers heading to India from all over the world.
Additionally, India hopes to facilitate electronic visa authorization in nine major airports with major source countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, and Germany. The Indian government hopes that with the new e-visa, tourism could increase by 1.2 million visitors by the end of 2015. That would equate to additional earnings of $2.4 billion.
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