16 January 2009

2009: the year to 'Visit India'

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The Indian government is going to market aggressively Indian tourism next year at the domestic and international level, reports The Times of India.

The marketing approach will start with declaring 2009 as the year to 'Visit India', and will include some luring packages from leading hotels like Taj and Oberoi of which the cost will be borne by the government.

The government is considering the costs for providing one, two or three-day stay at a wellness resort, rural stay or a taste of adventure tourism; the number of days will depend on the weight given to the ticket that is where the tourist has arrived from.

"There is a proposal to give weightage on purchase of airticket depending on the distance of the travel to foreign tourists.  However, a final decision is to be taken after consultation with all concerned,'' Ambika Soni minister for tourism and culture said.

"Among others, adventure tourism, rural tourism, Buddhist sites and other products will be offered to tourists in various packages,'' she said.

According to experts, India's tourism growth is likely to drop by nearly 50 per cent next year and during November the number of international tourists dropped by 2.1 per cent when compared with the same period in 2007. 

Goa, a traditionally popular tourist destination has experienced a 20 per cent decrease in tourist arrivals, reports AFP, which has been blamed on the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.  Britain, Australia and New Zealand, amongst other nations, issued travel warnings after the November attacks that left 172 people dead.

International visitors to India must have an Indian visa to enter the country.  An India Tourist Visa is usually valid for up to six months, and the visa holder cannot work under the visa conditions.  For short-stay visits, tourists can also apply for a 15-day transit visa.

The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in India visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.

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