E-Visa Topple All Records: International Tourist Arrivals Witness 724% Growth In August
E-visa facility initiated by the Modi Govt. last year is continuing to break all existing tourism records. In the month of August this year, 724% more International tourists entered the country, compared to last year in the same period.
As per latest data coming in from Tourism Ministry, total of 22,286 tourists used e-Visa facility to visit India in August, compared to 2705 in August, 2014, there by registering a staggering growth of 723.9%.
If we compare the January-August period, then the growth is even more phenomenal: Compared to 17,120 tourists using e-Visa in 2014, 1,69,976 tourists opted for this service in 2015, which is a growth of 892.9%!
Last year in November, Govt. had started India’s first ever e-Visa facility, which was rolled out for citizens from 43 countries. 9 designated International airports were equipped with this service. Effective June this year, this facility was extended to 31 more countries and 7 more International airports are empowered to receive them.
In May, e-Visa facility was extended to China and 36 more countries.
Thus, as of now, there are 113 countries whose citizens can apply for e-Visa and enter India via 16 International Airports.
Interestingly, in 2015, USA was the country which sent us maximum e-Visa tourists: 25.9%; followed by Germany (10%); UAE (8.92%); France (8.76%); Australia (7.20%) and Canada (6.39%).
Controversies of e-Visa
In May this year, when PM Modi extended e-Visa facility for Chinese tourists, then it ignited some controversy; especially from Congress party. They were opposed to this decision as the issue of ‘stapled visa’ provided by China to Indian citizens of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir is still not resolved.
Another minor controversy erupted this April, when Govt. decided to change the scheme called ‘Visa on Arrival’ to ‘e-Tourist visa’, which automatically jacked up the numbers. Although the Govt. claimed that this will simplify the process for International tourists, critics said that this further dilute our security checks, and may create more trouble for enforcing proper security drills before allowing citizens from other countries to enter India.
None the less, Tourism industry in India is super excited to witness such tremendous growth in tourist arrivals. We are still way behind in attracting International tourists for various reasons (Singapore, which half the size of Delhi, receives twice the tourists as whole of India!); the industry is hoping that e-Visa facility will give a boost to the sector which is the need of the hour.
Here are all the 113 countries which are covered under e-Visa facility:
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam.
And the 16 International airports which can accept e-Visa arrivals:
Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow and Trichy.
If you are an International tourist, then please visit the Indian Government’s official website for e-Visa application here.