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Big relief: India to allow e-visas to UK nationals again

NEW DELHI: India is all set to resume e-visa facility for UK citizens. This service was restored for almost all countries earlier this year barring a handful of nations, including the UK and Canada. The Indian High Commission in London on Monday tweeted: “…delighted to confirm that e-Visa facility will again be available for UK nationals travelling to India. System upgrade is underway and the visa website will soon be ready to receive applications from friends in the UK.” UK High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis termed it as a “welcome news for UK travellers to India.” Vikram K Doraiswami, India’s high commissioner to UK, said: “We are rolling out e-visas once again and this service will be made available to you forthwith. (Dates will be announced shortly). That should enable friends from the UK far more easily to India. So welcome back, e-visas are up ahead and all of our other services including visa at your doorstep remain available to you. We look forward to a good winer season in which everyone gets to celebrate their festivals in India which is the land of festivals.” Anil Kalsi, Travel Agents Federation of India joint secretary, said, “The resumption of e-visas will unlock great potential for inbound tourism for India as these are huge markets for the same.” The number of international arrivals in India in pre-Covid 2019 was 1.7 crore, that included 1.1 crore foreign tourists and remaining NRIs coming home for visiting friends and relatives purpose. Government data for 2018 shows the top five source countries for foreign tourist arrivals in India were: Bangladesh (21.4%), US (13.8%), UK (9.7%), Sri Lanka (3.35%) and Canada (3.32%). With e-visas not allowed for some of these top source markets, the tourism industry has been seeking resumption of the same. For instance, the Travel Agents Association of India, an umbrella organisation representing over 2,500 travel firms, had this summer requested the government to reinstate e-visas for all countries to boost inbound tourism.

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