INDIA announced last week that Chinese nationals would finally be included in its e-visa scheme, a move greeted with cheers from tour operators here.
Prime minister Narendra Modi revealed this when addressing students at Tsinghua University in Beijing last Friday.
Reacting to the news, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said that the announcement will greatly boost tourist arrivals from the growing market of China.
“We have been pleading for e-visas to important markets like China, the UK, Italy and Poland, as these countries provide tourists all year round but were not included in the earlier announcements,” said president Subhash Goyal, who said double-digit growth in the next two years is possible if e-visas were extended to these countries.
India had launched e-visas last November, with China conspicuously absent from the list.
“This year is (marketed as) Visit India Year in China. With the e-visas extended to Chinese tourists, India’s Ministry of Tourism should look to promote products like the Buddhist circuit, which can appeal to them,” Ranjan Kumar Mishra, managing director, Eastern Voyage, told TTG Asia e-Daily.
Mahesh Sharma, India’s minister of state for tourism, also said the country is happy to host Chinese tour operators to India.
Last year, 676,000 Indians visited China, while only 174,000 Chinese travelled to India.