"On behalf of FHRAI, I welcome the Government's recent proposal in regard to extending the Tourist Visa-on-Arrival facility to the nationals of 40 countries.
With strong support from the Ministry of Tourism, FHRAI has been vigorously pursuing this issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs and we had emphatically highlighted that a bold and timely decision will be imperative to enable us to accomplish the vision of doubling our Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to 12 million within the next five years.
Although steadily growing in popularity, the success of the existing T-VoA scheme which was introduced in 2010, has inevitably been constrained due to the fact that a majority of countries which actually constitute the top source markets for FTAs in India had been excluded from its purview.
However, with the slew of progressive measures now being contemplated, the Union Government has firmly signaled its intent to move towards a more liberalised visa regime which offers a seamless and differentiated mechanism to encourage and facilitate foreign tourist travel to the country.
At a time when India is witnessing a general economic downturn and widening current account deficit, we have an unmissable strategic opportunity to leverage the tourism sector's intrinsic potential to spur job creation and boost our foreign exchange earnings.
FHRAI has requested the Home Ministry and other agencies to ensure that the requisite infrastructure, in terms of technology and personnel is expeditiously put in place, so that this initiative can be operationalised at the earliest.
We have also suggested actively exploring the option of introducing a system of electronic visas for tourists, which countries such as Turkey and Sri Lanka have already successfully implemented."