Tourism industry feels the 30-day e-Tourist Visa won’t help the cause in the new normal


Especially the wellness tourism segment of the industry feel that the duration of the e-Visa should be extended to minimum 60 days as people will be keen to stay put in one place for longer duration in the post-Covid world.

While the decision of the government to re-start the e-Tourist Visa for International tourists after a gap of 18 months has kindled some hope in the tourism industry in the country, the industry expect the government to think out-of-the-box to make the process more flexible looking at the post-Covid travel behaviour of people. The industry feels that the 30-day validity of e-Tourist Visa would be insufficient and needs to be reviewed and revised upwards to make it really attractive for international tourists. The demand for extending the validity of Indian e-Tourist Visa to at least 60 days is more predominant among the wellness players in the country. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) in their wish-list to the government recently has demanded the e-Tourist Visa validity be extended to 60 days minimum with multiple entry.

Such restrictive policies will dissuade people from preferring India for post-Covid travel,” said PK Anish Kumar, a Kerala-based inbound operator. Post-Covid the tendency of the people will be to stay at a destination for long rather than travelling around to multiple places, he says. After Brexit, a lot of British are disposing of their holiday homes in Spain and other EU countries and looking at spending time in tropical islands. By offering long-term Visa, India can take advantage of this new trend, Kumar said. “60 to 90 days validity is ideal,” Sajeev Kurup, MD, Ayurvedamana. Wellness seekers generally prefer 14, 28, 35-day packages in an Ayurveda/Wellness resort, he says. The Visa should be multiple entry, he says, so that travellers can combine multiple countries in the region. Along with the e-Visa validity, Kurup believes that the international connectivity and the flight charges will also play a major role in choosing a destination. There is still no clarity as far as the international destinations which will be connected when India resumes scheduled international flights from next month. The industry feels that the guidelines and protocols should be more flexible so that it offers the destination sellers more opportunities to sell their products to all tastes and preferences.

Abhilash K Ramesh, Executive Director of Kairali Ayurvedic Group, also shared similar views on the issue. “It will be a disservice to the tourism industry in general and the Ayurveda/wellness industry in particular if the government does not extend the validity of the visa. Although the average stay of a wellness tourist in an ayurvedic resort is 14 days, he feels that there are chances of people preferring longer stays in ayurvedic retreats especially in the post-Covid scenario. Ramesh said that India and the wellness sector here cannot afford to miss the clients because of restrictive regulations. “We urge the government to review the decision and consider issuing e-Visas with longer validity,” he said. While the government and its Health Ministry is yet to come out with health and safety guidelines for international travellers coming by scheduled flights, the tourism industry wants it to be more practical and realistic to support the revival of the sector rather than damaging its prospects.


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