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Indian tourism set to get a boost

For foreign tourists interested in undertaking frequent visits to India, there is good news round the corner. For if Rajiv Talwar, Additional Director General of Tourism, is to be believed, the Government is currently working on a proposal to provide long term tourist visas to citizens of select countries.

If the proposal is cleared, prospective tourists will be able to get visas for ten to fifteen years.

According to the Tourism Ministry sources, Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh has shortlisted 16 countries for the proposed scheme.

The proposal is to facilitate the tourists who wish to visit India frequently, but fail to do so due to the lengthy procedure of obtaining visas, causing huge loses to the tourism industry, sources said.

At present, tourist visa, except in special cases, is normally issued for a duration of six months.

"We are negotiating with different ministries over the proposal. We are in contact with Defence Ministry, which may object on such provision. So this proposal is under consideration and would be finalised only after defence Ministry clears it," Minister of State for Tourism Renuka Choudhary said whilst inaugurating a seminar on Managing Tourism Destination 'Strategies and Actions for Success' organised by World Tourism Organisation and Tourism Ministry.

Choudhary said that besides internal and the external coordination, good infrastructure is also required.


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