Sunday, December 26, 2010

Long Term Tourist Visas

Nksagar-Sagar Media Inc : Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) in India during the period of January- November 2010 were 4.93 million as compared to the FTAs of 4.46 million during the same period of 2009, showing a growth of 10.4%. The growth rate during the same period of 2009 over 2008 was (-) 6.0%. Thus, tourism sector witnessed substantial growth in 2010 till November, as compared to same period of 2009.

The number of domestic tourist visits increased from 650.00 million in 2009 as compared to 562.98 million in 2008 showing a growth of 15.5 percent. Thus, the domestic tourism witnessed impressive growth inspite of various adverse factors during this period.

The Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) during the period of January-November 2010 were Rs. 57850.00 crore as compared to Rs. 47918.00 crore during the same period of 2009, registering a growth rate of 20.7%. The growth rate in FEE from tourism during the same period in 2009 over 2008 was only 5.0%.

Infrastructure development holds the key to India’s sustained growth in the tourism sector. Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism has been making efforts to develop quality tourism infrastructure at tourist destinations and circuits. Till 30th September, 2010, the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 106 projects, including rural tourism projects, for an amount of Rs.376.55 crore for infrastructure augmentation during 2010-11.

The Ministry
has launched a scheme for development of nationally and internationally important destinations and circuits through Mega Projects. So far, 38 mega projects have already been identified out of which 23 projects have already been sanctioned. The mega projects are a judicious mix of culture, heritage, spiritual and ecotourism in order to give tourists a holistic perspective.

Ministry of Tourism is also taking initiatives with other Central Govt. Ministries, such as Railways, Civil Aviation, Road Transport & Highways, Food Processing and Urban Development and also the concerned State Governments to achieve convergence and synergy with their programmes so that the impact of investment on these destinations is maximized The Ministry of Tourism has identified 23 destinations/circuits in India, based on their tourism potential, to be covered in the Phase I of the scheme.

Ministry of Tourism holds the Prioritization Meeting with the States/UTs to identify the tourism projects in their States/UTs for funding. While prioritizing the projects, adequate emphasis is given to the projects involving the construction and upkeep of wayside amenities along Highways/Roads leading to tourist destinations, cleanliness at the tourism sites, projects in backward areas, etc.To ensure the contribution of tourism in the development of remote and backward areas in the country, it has now been decided to year mark 2.5% of total plan outlays of the Ministry of Tourism from 2011-12 for tourism development in tribal areas.

As proposed by Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Home Affairs, decided to grant ‘Long Term Tourist Visas’ of five (05) years duration with multiple entry facilities carrying a stipulation of 90 days of each visit on a pilot basis to the nationals of the following 18 selected countries:-(1) France (2) Germany (3) Luxembourg (4) Netherlands (5) Belgium (6) Finland (7) Spain (8) Switzerland (9) Norway (10) Iceland (11) New Zealand (12) Japan (13) South Korea (14) Argentina (15) Brazil (16) Chile (17) Mexico (18) Vietnam.

The Ministry of Home Affairs accepted the proposal of Ministry of Tourism and introduced “Visa-on-Arrival” Scheme for tourists from five countries viz., Singapore, Finland, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Japan on a pilot basis for a period of one year w.e.f. 01st January, 2010. During the period January – November 2010, a total number of 5644 VoAs were issued under this scheme. The number of VoAs issued under this scheme, during January – November 2010 for nationals of the five countries were Singapore (1623), New Zealand (1604), Japan (1241), Finland (1123) and Luxembourg (53). Total number of VoAs issued during November 2010 were 628 with country wise break up as Finland (90), Japan (131), New Zealand (276), Singapore (122) & Luxembourg (9). During the eleven month period of January – November 2010, the maximum number of VoAs were issued at Delhi Airport (3035), followed by Mumbai (1258), Chennai (1073) and Kolkata (278).

Further, the Visa – on – Arrival scheme is being extended by Ministry of Home Affairs for the nationals of five more countries viz. Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar & Philippines with effect from 01st January 2011.

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