Budget 2015: Visa on arrival to be extended to 150 countries

To boost tourism, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley in his full year Union Budget 2015-16 announced Visa-on-Arrival to 150 countries from the current 43 countries in stages.

“Last year VoA was issued to 43 countries. As the tourism in the country has increased, I propose to increase the countries covered under this to 150,” Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget 2015-16 proposals in the Lok Sabha.

An amount of Rs 1,573.07 crores has been earmarked for the tourism ministry for 2015-16, giving it a rise of 33% over last fiscal’s allocation.

Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India said the growth of tourism was important for the overall growth of India’s economy, adding that the revenue from the tourism sector can be utilised for the development of the country. “Tourism, in India, is a very important source of foreign exchange earnings and has high labour intensity,” he added.

This hassle-free process has given a fillip to Indian tourism whose share in world tourism is a paltry 0.6% of international tourist arrivals compared to 7.8% in France and 6.4% in the US.

In the month of January, a total of 25,023 tourists arrived by availing VoA as compared to 1,903 last year, registering a growth of whooping 1,214.9%.

Jaitley also said the government will invest in heritage sites and also in enhancing standards of security, amenities and illumination.

Tourist arrivals in India are expected to shoot up to 8 million this year and the ‘Incredible India’ experience will get even more spectacular with heritage sites like Hampi, the churches of Goa and Qutub Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad in their restored glory.

News source: http://www.travelnewsdigest.in/?p=23511