The Indian government has extended its e-conference visa programme to foreign attendees of private conferences.
Previously, the e-visa was only accessible to foreign attendees of events organised by the government or public sector undertakings (PSUs).
This development has been met with relief from stakeholders of India’s business events industry, who have been calling for the provision of a more welcoming e-visa arrangement for private conference attendees.
Suman Billa, joint secretary with the Ministry of Tourism of India, said: “The government has been proactive in its efforts to help the tourism industry grow.”
Amaresh Tiwari, managing director, A T Seasons and Vacations Travel, described the former conference visa requirement for private events as a “tedious process” that needed permissions and complex documentation.
“With this change, foreign delegates can apply for an e-visa from the comfort of their home,” he said.
The India Convention Promotion Bureau was among those pushing for an e-visa facility for private conferences. Chander Mansharamani, vice chairman of the bureau, opined that an e-visa facility was a critical requirement for India to be recognised as an attractive destination for global events.
“Making the e-visa available to all conferences can be a game changer (for India’s business events industry) and bring more international conferences to the country,” Chander remarked.
ICPB’s recent industry report had stressed the need for an aggressive promotion of India as a meetings and events destination in international markets.