Visa on arrival boosts number of Australian tourists visiting India
“The tourist traffic from Australia to India has tremendously increased since the introduction of ‘visa on arrival’ in India. Australia holds the fourth rank among other countries in tourist numbers for India,” stated Mr Girish Shankar, Additional Secretary, Tourism Department, Government of India at the Incredible India Roadshow held in Sydney on March 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney’s CBD. Mr Shankar was accompanied by a delegation of 60 travel agents representing the Indian Association of Tour Operators (AATO), to promote Indian tourism in Australia.
promote Indian tourism in Australia. Addressing a large number of Australian travel agents, Mr Shankar further provided an insight to the ambitious plans and measures in boosting tourism such as 100% foreign direct investment in the hospitality sector, specialist packages such as ‘know your roots’, pilgrimages including visitsto Buddhist temples, Himalaya dharshan, coastal India, north east tours, medical facilities, among others. A number of ‘bed & breakfast’ options would also be made available in many cities. “India is a safe country to travel,” stated Mr. Shankar confidently, responding to a query on safety. “The introduction of ‘visa on arrival’ enabled by the lectronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is an alternate visa process for speedy issue of visas,” said Mr Sunjay sudhir, Consul General of India in Sydney, in response to a query on the new visa process. “This willfacilitate issue of visas to India within 72 hours after applications are lodged as per the Visa on Arrival – enabled by ETA process,” he explained.
The delegation also promoted a variety of interesting tour packages for different states in India. Apart from the exchange of useful travel information, a number of lucky door prizes including two tickets to India by Air India, made the evening very enjoyable. The well-presented and well received Incredible India Roadshow was very well supported by the Sydney Indian tourist office, led by Mr. Vaibava Tripathi and his able team.