India issues 22,000 online visas in first 30 days

Since the launch of the online visa facility on November 27, India has processed 22,000 visas in just a month, indicating a significant boost to tourism. The online visa facility is available for visitors traveling to India for recreation, short duration medical treatment, and casual business visits for a stay of 30 days. India introduced the visa on arrival facility in 43 countries, which is available at nine airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram. India has also introduced five tourist circuits, the Ganga, Krishna, Buddha, North East and Kerala circuits, which the tourism ministry plans to develop at a cost of Rs.500 crore. The ministry also plans to invest Rs.100 crore on a national mission on pilgrimage rejuvenation and a spiritual augmentation drive. PM Narendra Modi stressed the importance of tourism in showcasing the country's rich culture and heritage, and the creation of employment. Provisional estimates show that tourism related employment has risen to 12.36%, and an additional employment of 24.5 million is targeted for the period 2010-2016.