Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said Friday the government was in the final stages of consultations on allowing visas on arrival to citizens of another 10 countries in addition to the present 13.
“We are in the final stages of consultation in the government in the matter and the matter will be taken up with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The proposal is to allow visa on arrival to citizens of another 10 countries and it has the potential to boost tourism manyfold,” Sahay told reporters on the sidelines of the 4th annual convention of the Indian Tourist Transporters association (ITTA).
According to the minister, the 10 countries include Germany, France and Russia and of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Currently India has the visa-on-arrival arrangements with 13 countries.
“The CIS countries can be one of the largest inbound tourist markets for India, as in winter India is an attractive and close destination for them,” Sahay said.
The government has recently set a target of attracting 12 million international touirists by 2016 and has taken several initiatives towards this end.
Sahay furthur said that his ministry is planning a new initiative to spur domestic tourist traffic by working with state governments called “See Your Own State”.
“The domestic tourist traffic has now increased to around 8.5 million annually. I expect this market to grow tremendously and for this we have come up with a scheme to incentivise natives to see their own states,” Sahay added.