India to extend VOA to 13 more countries

INDIA is planning to extend visas on arrival (VOA) to nationals of 13 more countries including Malaysia and Thailand, revealed a source from the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

Brunei, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Brazil and South Africa have also been touted as potential beneficiaries of the VOA policy extension, according to a report in India’s The Economic Times.

The report added that the VOA facility would be extended within a year to airports in Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore and Goa, adding to the four already active in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Anju Desai, vice president of Mumbai-based HMA Travel, said: “The countries earmarked for the VOA are major source markets and will open the floodgates of inbound tourism. We have received complaints about delays in issuance of Indian visas from our missions abroad. Now, all that will end and seamless travel will begin.”

Currently, visitors from 11 nations – Luxembourg, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore – are able to avail of the VOA, though only slightly more than 10,000 were granted in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Malaysia released a statement clarifying that the Indian Government had not yet taken any decision to extend VOAs to Malaysian nationals.

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