India to give free tourist visa to 5 lakh travellers

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The scheme will be applicable till March 31, 2022 or till 5,00,000 visas are issued, whichever is earlier….reports Asian Lite News

As part of plan to provide relief to the tourism industry, among the worst affected sectors by the pandemic, and to encourage travel activities, the government on Monday said that it would offer tourist visa free of charge till March 31, 2022.

As part of the financial relief package for the travel industry, finance minister Sitharaman announced that once visa issuance is restarted, the first 5 lakh tourists’ visas will be issued free of charge.

She said that this has been one of the demands of the travel industry which the government has accepted. The financial implication of the move is expected in the range of Rs 100 crore.

The scheme will be applicable till March 31, 2022 or till 5,00,000 visas are issued, whichever is earlier. The benefit will also be available only once per tourist.

About 10.93 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019, spent $30.098 billion on leisure and business. Average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days. Average daily spending of a tourist in India is around $34 (Rs 2,400).

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Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday welcomed the initiatives announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide relief to the tourism sector.

Goa is one of India’s busiest and most attractive tourist destinations.

“I have not got the details yet. Once I get it, I will brief the media. But I welcome the step,” Sawant said.

Earlier on Monday, Sitharaman unveiled a series of measures to boost the Covid-hit tourism sector by announcing five lakh free tourist visas for international travellers and a financial package for registered travel agencies and tourist guides, among other loan benefits, in order to resume business activity which has been crippled by the pandemic.

Goa is one of the most popular beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country. Before the pandemic paralysed the industry, nearly eight million tourist arrivals were recorded in the state in 2019.

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