New Delhi, Mar 1 (IANS) A proposal to extend the visa-on-arrival scheme to 16 countries was submitted Friday by Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, the tourism ministry said.
It said the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) facility was for countries that are potential source markets for India and where there have been no security-related issues in the past or likely to occur in future.
An independent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) has noted that the TVOA scheme had a positive impact on the decision to travel to India. This scheme should be expanded to cover more countries and more ports of entry.
The ministry has proposed extending the TVOA facility to markets like Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Sweden and Norway to cover the European and Scandinavian countries which are key inbound markets.
It also sought the facility for tourists from Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to cover the emerging markets from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and for visitors from Brazil and South Africa to cover the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping and Trinidad & Tobago to strengthen historical links.
Keeping in view the recent travel trends, the tourism ministry has also proposed the TVOA scheme for South Korea, a very important tourist generating market
The ministry had also proposed visa on arrival for tourists from Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei to cover all the ASEAN countries, consistent with the government's Look East policy and wanted the TVOA facility for more airports like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Goa, Bodh Gaya and Thiruvananthapuram.
The hoem ministry is considering the issue of extending TVOA to the 16 countries proposed.
In January 2010, the home ministry had accepted the TVOA scheme for visitors from five countries - Singapore, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Japan and Finland - on a pilot basis for one year.
The scheme was extended on an experimental basis for one year for nationals of six more countries - Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar - at the New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports from Jan 1, 2011, for a maximum of 30 days.