After the e-visa facility attracted huge foreign tourist arrivals in India, the country now plans to extend the online visa service for another 36 countries.
Witnessing a steady growth of foreign arrivals in India after the launch of online visa scheme in November 2013, the Tourism ministry appealed to the union Home ministry to extend the facility for citizens in another 36 nations.
India currently offers e-tourist visa to travellers from 150 countries and the proposed additions would take up the total number to 186.
“E-visa has proved to be a game changer. We have recently wrote to the Home ministry to consider granting e-visa to the citizens of 36 more countries which are important from tourism point of view,” Vinod Zutshi, secretary, tourism ministry, said.
Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Italy, Nigeria, Turkey, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Morocco are among the nations, where the e-visa services will be introduced if the proposal is accepted by the union Home ministry.
E-visa services are most popular among people in United States, that drew the maximum number of tourists at 23.22 pc followed by UK at 14.16pc, China at 6.91 pc, Australia at 5.59 pc and France at 4.10 pc in May 2016.
According to the data of Tourism ministry, during January to June 2016, around 471,909 tourists arrived on e-tourist visas, as compared to 126,214 last year during the same period.
Approximately 36,982 tourists arrived in India in June alone this year as compared to 15,557 during the same period in 2015.
New Delhi was the favourite port of arrival in June 2016 with around 42.15 pc of tourists using the airport, followed by the Mumbai airport that was used by 22.94 pc of the tourists. Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Tiruchirapalli and Thiruvananthapuram airports are among other airports, which were also preferred by travellers.