Electronic visas are changing the way people travel to other countries. Last year, in 2017, 1.69 million tourists visited India with the e-TV for India. According to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the use of the Indian e-TV to visit the country increased by 57% in comparison to the previous year.
At the inauguration of the 12-day tourism festival, "Paryatan Parv", Singh said, "Indian culture is very rich. Its rich civilization is discussed across the world. Its the only country where followers of all the imparted religions are," and added that "there are a great number of languages, dialects, and dresses. It is a country full of diversity. Still, it is incredible and unbreakable."
The home minister said that the e-TV is a game changer for the tourism sector in India. The electronic travel authorization for India is available for citizens of 166 countries. Travelers who wish to visit India can complete the India e-TV online application with their personal details and their passport information. The electronic visa is a double entry visa for those traveling for tourism and business reasons. Visitors can obtain up to two electronic visas a year to travel to the country.
Tourism in India
According to Singh, the tourism industry in India is registering significant growth, "foreign tourist arrivals during 2017 were 10.4 million, with a growth rate of 14 % as compared to 2016." India, "is full of traditions and customs. It is being developed as a tourist destination. The government is trying to increase tourism's contribution to the GDP from seven to ten percent." The home minister hoped that the festival would demonstrate India's diversity and rich culture.
The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated 201 billion USD or 9.4 % of India's GDP in 2017, supporting 41.622 million jobs, about 8% of its total employment. It is predicted that the tourism sector in India will grow at an annual rate of 6.9% by 2028.
India requires that foreign visitors hold a valid passport and apply for a travel visa or a travel authorization to visit the country. Citizens of 166 eligible countries can simply apply online for the eTV. However, it is important that the applicant's passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of intended arrival.
What to see in India
As said by Rajnath Singh, India is a country with ancient traditions and an incredible artistic heritage. It has beautiful landscapes and an exceptionally varied gastronomy. People around the world are drawn to India to experience spirituality, or at least, try to find it. There are hundreds of yoga retreats and temples where visitors try to find peace within themselves. While some travel to India to retreat, others go to explore the northern mountains or its sun-washed beaches in the south. India is a vast country worth discovering.
Some of the most popular destinations in India include:
- Taj Mahal: it was built by Shah as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. It is estimated that 20,000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. Visitors should note that the Taj Mahal is closed every Friday to anyone not attending prayers at the mosque.
- City Palace: set in the heart of the Old City (in Jaipur), it was built by Jai Singh II, but the palace has been enlarged over the centuries.
- Amber Fort: located in Amber, the fort was built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, white marble and it is divided into four main sections.
- Varanasi: the holiest place in India. If you wish to learn about India's culture and their take on life and death, Varanasi is the place to go.
- Udaipur: a romantic place in India, the city is well known for its lakes and palaces.
In order to visit India, foreign travelers must obtain a travel authorization or visa to present at a port of entry upon arrival in the country. The eTV makes it easier for travelers to obtain the authorization to visit the country. Each applicant can complete the application online without the hassle of going to an embassy or consulate.