Stakeholders from the tourism industry have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing serious concern over the non-resumption of electronic tourist visas (e-TV) to citizens of the United Kingdom and Canada by the Centre,
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), a national body of the tourism industry with 1,600 members covering all segments of tour operators, said they have made numerous representations to the Ministries of Tourism, Home Affairs and External Affairs, requesting them for the restoration of e-tourist visa for UK, Canada and other source markets as maximum foreign tourists travel to India from these countries.
“Having failed to evoke any response from these ministries, we have written to the PM, hoping for a quick resolution,” said IATO President Rajiv Mehra, adding that the letter was sent on October 6.
The e-tourist visa facility – which was open to nationals of 166 countries, including the UK and Canada – was discontinued in the wake of the pandemic in March 2020. It was partially resumed late last year after a gap of 18 months, under air bubble arrangements and Covid-19 protocols.
In March 2022, the government restored the e-TV facility for 156 countries, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order. Mehra says the March order was not extended to countries like the UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, adding that they have been cited “security reasons” for the same during their meetings with officials from MHA and MEA over the last one year.