India offers visa-on-arrival to 180 countries. What does it mean for Indian Tourism?

With thousands of kilometres of unbroken coastline and some of the world’s highest mountains, the varied landscape, flora and fauna; a history that is long and compelling, with each state having a different dialect and culture, India is comparable to Europe in terms of the kind of variety of experiences you would be getting on your visit here. This should make India one of the best travel destinations in the world, right?

The statistics don’t speak the same story though!!

According to the World Bank’s figures from 2011, Malaysia attracts nearly 25 million tourists, Mexico 23 million, Ukraine 21 million, Thailand 19 million, Singapore 10 million, Egypt 9.5 million. In sharp contrast, India attracts under 6.5 million visitors. Fewer than Indonesia. Fewer than Bulgaria. Only half as many as Poland. Vietnam, about the size of Madhya Pradesh, attracts just as many foreign tourists as India. Venice alone has 6.5 million annual visitors, as many as all of India.

Image Credits: Tehelka
Image Credits: Tehelka

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In addition to other issues like substandard quality of hotels, safety issues and tout culture (which companies like Padhaaro are trying to solve), one of the reasons for this is also the fact that most foreigners currently have to wait several weeks before learning whether they will be allowed to enter India after submitting their applications at visa processing centers, a major deterrent for potential visitors.

And here is the good news finally, Indian Government is now easing up the Indian visa process by providing visa-on-arrival facility to 180 countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan – have not been included for security reasons) and we think that this is a great step to boost the tourism in India. India has just so much to offer to any kind of traveler and an initiative like this coming from the Government is definitely a step forward in this regard.

Visa on Arrival was only available for the above mentioned countries until now
Visa on Arrival was only available for the above mentioned countries until now

[space height=”10″]This is particularly going to set the right tone for the current year with the numbers in the last 2 years not being good. Year 2012 saw 6.57 million foreign tourists coming to India, an increase of 4.5% compared to 2011. We are yet to see the exact numbers for 2013 but looking at the trend in the first three quarters of the year, they wouldn’t be very much pleasing either.

The new visa regime is certainly going to increase the number of visitors and travel related businesses and the Government at the same time need to be prepared with better standard of services to provide them with a good experience. Increase in the number of tourists will also help in travel related businesses making more money which is likely to be (and ideally should be) invested in bringing in more professionalism to their services.

Another major positive impact this change could bring is a reduction in the criminal cases against foreign travelers. “With more foreign tourists seen around, they would no more attract unnecessary attention in the crowd and the incidents of crime against them will go down significantly.” says Ish, co-Founder at Padhaaro.

There is no doubt this decision by Govt of India is going to change the overall tourism atmosphere in India.

Are you ready for an Indian adventure now?

Give us a shout if you are looking for a trip different from the ordinary and want to explore India from a local’s perspective. You can take a look at some of our awesome local experiences here.

3 thoughts on “India offers visa-on-arrival to 180 countries. What does it mean for Indian Tourism?

  • August 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Travel agents in Vietnam can help you in arranging a pre-approved letter for your
    visa. First, if you are a citizen of the following countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore,
    Indonesia, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Japan, South Korea,
    Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Russia, then you don’t need a tourist visa.
    Needed items Applicants must submit a valid passport with at least
    six months of validity remaining.

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