Monday, February 6, 2012

India Plans to Extend VOA Policy to 13 more Countries

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel 

The Indian government is planning to extend visas on arrival (VOA) to citizens of 13 more countries including Malaysia and Thailand according to a source from India’s Ministry of Tourism.

Based on a report published in India’s “The Economic Times”, other countries which are being touted as potential beneficiaries of the VOA policy extension are Brunei, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and South Africa.

India flag

The report also stated that the VOA facility would be extended within a year to airports in Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore, and Goa, adding to the four active airports such as Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.

Currently, there are 11 nations that are benefiting from the said policy, namely Luxembourg, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore. In 2011, records showed that only slightly more than 10,000 VOA applications from nationals of these countries were granted.

Anju Desai, vice president of Mumbai-based HMA Travel was quoted saying: "The countries earmarked for the VOA are major source markets and will open the floodgates of inbound tourism. We have received complaints about delays in the issuance of Indian visas from our missions abroad. Now, all that will end and seamless travel will begin."

In relevance to the issue, the Indian High Commission in Malaysia released a statement clarifying that the Indian Government had not yet taken any decision to extend VOAs to Malaysian nationals.

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