Easier visa rules to boost influx of Russian tourists to India - tour operators.

Saturday, 12 October 2013 10:04

The Russian Union of Travel Industry says easier visa rules for Russian citizens going on holiday to India will give a fresh impetus to boosting the influx of tourists to the South Asian country.

This week it became known that Russian tourists flying to India would have an opportunity to get a visa upon their arrival to the point of their destination.

The Indian authorities promised to enlarge a list of nations whose citizens are allowed to get a visa upon arrival in India. Aside from Russia the new list includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Brazil, China, etc.

Moreover, all citizens who reached 60 years old can obtain a visa upon arrival to India. Soon India promises to launch an electronic visa application system.

The Russian Union of Travel Industry noted that Turkey, Egypt and Thailand could be cited as an example of those countries which registered an increase in tourists after they had simplified visa rules.

“These countries’ easier visa policy gives tourists an opportunity to book their tours at the last minute, just on the eve of their flight. Of course, this boosts demand,” a representative of the Russian Union of Travel Industry said, adding that India’s promises to change the visa rules were seen only in media reports, but no official dates had been named so far.

At present, only India’s state of Goa received Russian tourists without preliminary visa processing arrangements, the union said. However, tour operators call these rules half-legal, as airport-based migration services take a Russian tourist’s passport in exchange for a permit to stay in Goa for two weeks without leaving the state’s borders.

According to Russia’s tour operators, last year the number of Russian tourists holidaying in India, mainly in Goa, increased by 30 percent to 120,000.

MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass)

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