Govt relaxes tourist visa rules

India tourism

The government had been maintaining that in case there is a need for a visa holder to return within two months of departure from India, then the person can approach the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

Apart from the Headley episode, the security agencies had also found that many foreign nationals quite a few of them of Indian origin had been staying in India for years together.

A large number of them, sources claimed, were running shops, conducting business and related activities which could not be termed as tourism.

So, the government had argued that it had no choice but to introduce a two-month cooling off period, which would bar these visa holders from returning to India for at least two months after they have left the country.

latest move is likely to breathe fresh life into the tourism industry and comes just ahead of the peak tourist season. India's share of international tourist arrivals in 2011 was a mere 0.64 per cent.

According to latest data, foreign tourist arrivals this year till October showed a marginal increase of 6.2 per cent compared to last year. Tourist arrivals till October were 52.19 lakh.

With the lifting of the 60-day restriction, foreign tourists will be encouraged to visit India and use it as a hub while visiting southeast Asian and neighbouring countries.

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