Gujarat tourism to introduce E-visa to boost tourism
This Independence Day, Ahmedabad airport along with six other airports in the country got approval for e-tourist visa, allowing 113 nations to avail this scheme. Due to some logistical reasons, the e-visa scheme is yet to be implemented at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport. However, tour operators and travel agencies believe that once enforced, e-visa facility will give huge boost to tourism in the state.
â€œThis was one of the long time demands of the state. We have got in-principle approval and are in process of setting up the needed infrastructure for the scheme implementation. Soon, it will be in place and tourists will be able to enter Ahmedabad with e-visa,â€ said Saurabh Patel, minister of tourism, Gujarat.
According Union ministry of tourism, around 2.5 lakh foreign tourists visited Gujarat in 2014, up by 18.49% in comparison to 2013. Tour operators believe that foreign tourists visits (FTVs) can increase up to 30% once e-visa system is in place.
â€œThis scheme will be hugely beneficial to last moment travellers. In some countries availing visa is a cumbersome process, so tourists from these countries will be benefited with this scheme. In a long course, FTVs will pick up. It will also depend on ease of getting visa through this scheme for growth in touristsâ€™ numbers,â€ said Raju Choksi, MD, Ace Tours.
With several MNCs already present in the state and some in process of setting up their units, e-visa will also lift business tourism. â€œWith e-visa, corporates will have direct access giving the much needed impetus to business tourism. Besides this, the scheme will also increase inbound tourism in country as foreign tourists will have options of entering India from any of 16 airports,â€ said Manish Sharma, MD, Akshay Travels.
â€œThe implementation of e-visa will also propel airlines to add more international flights from Ahmedabad,â€ said a city-based travel operator.
International travellers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short-duration medical treatment or casual business visit can apply for this visa.
Under the scheme, an applicant receives an email authorizing him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a printout of this authorization. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country. Among the countries that will benefit from e-tourist visa are the USA, Germany, China, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, The UK, Spain the Netherlands, and Malaysia among others.