Monday 13 June 2022 1:34 AM UTC
LONDON June 13: With the lifting of restrictions on international flights following the Covid pandemic, the Indian tourism industry is trying to come out of the severe set back it suffered due to the lack of flow of tourist arrivals.
The Indian tourism industry is still not seeing the previous inflow of tourists from the UK and Canada. This is due to the hassle those tourists face in regards to obtaining a tourist visa to India.
The e-visa facility for UK and Canada tourists which was suspended a year ago is yet to be resumed.
Many tourists are reported to be putting off travelling to India due to the hassle and time it consumes to obtain an Indian tourist paper visa from VFS centres. However, these tourists are able to obtain a e-visa easily online to Sri Lanka.
Tourists will have to apply for an appointment and submit forms at VFS centres. Online appointment slots for submitting visa documents are available only for month-end. It takes another 2-3 weeks for the visa to be couriered. The cost of a visa is around £125, but people have to travel to London and pay a fee to apply. That works out to £150.
Operators who handle tourists from the UK and Canada find that 90% of their business is lost. Many have trimmed their workforce, shut shop or have started working from home.
D Gopinathan, co-chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) speaking to Times of India said, “For us these tourists are important. We have given representations to the government to restore e-visa.”
Tourists from the UK form a major share of foreign tourist arrivals to India.
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