Visa-on-arrival likely in Delhi, Mumbai by 2009
In a move that will help attract more foreign tourists into the country, India may allow visas on arrival facility in the upgraded and modernised Delhi and Mumbai airports by 2009, according to a media report.
To start with, the service would be on offer on a trial basis for travellers coming from select countries, tourism & culture minister Ambika Soni told the country’s Economic Times.
The ministry has set an ambitious target of attracting 10 million tourists into the country by 2010. Around 4.2 million tourists visited the country last year. The minister said senior officials of the Union home ministry have assured her that the government might consider extending visa-on-arrival facility once the two major airports in Delhi and Mumbai are upgraded to handle more passengers.
The ministry of home and external affairs has been resisting this long-pending demand from the tourism industry, citing security concerns. Soni said the move will happen once airlines start providing advance passenger information to security agencies.
Several neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia already offer the facility.