JAPAN will ease visa restrictions for India's travellers as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for tourism signed between the two countries last week.
In the MoU, Japan agreed to issue multiple-entry visas with validity of up to three years for Indian nationals, who currently are only allowed single-entry visas for short visits.
India is among the top 10 source markets for Japan, registering 18 per cent year-on-year growth in 2013 for a total of 160,000 arrivals.
Debjit Dutta, director of Kolkata-based Impression Tourism Services, said: “Multiple-entry visas for Indians to enter Japan will enable us to create itineraries combining trips to the US west coast for business travel and tourism. Moreover, longer visa validity can prompt repeat visits within a shorter time frame. This will encourage increased tourist traffic between the two countries and may lead to an increase in flight services too.”
Commenting on Japanese traffic into India, Parvez Dewan, secretary - tourism, Government of India, the Indian signatory, said: “Buddhist heritage tourism draws Japanese tourists to India.
“(The number of) Japanese tourists availing of visas on arrival (VoA) has grown significantly and the highest number of VoAs ever was issued to Japanese visitors in 2013.”
About 220,000 Japanese tourists visited India in 2013.