Centre to issue free tourist visas to first 5 lakh tourists after international travel resumes

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Photo/ ANI)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Photo/ ANI)

New Delhi [India], June 28 (ANI): As part of efforts to revive the tourism sector which has been hit hard due to COVID-19, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced some measures including free tourist visas to the first five lakh tourists.

She said financial support will be provided to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides and travel and tourism stakeholders

Addressing a press conference here to announce economic relief measures in the wake of the pandemic, she said that under the new Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID-affected sectors, working capital or personal loans will be provided to people in the tourism sector to discharge liabilities and restart businesses impacted due to COVID-19.

The scheme will cover 10,700 regional-level tourist guides recognised by Tourism Ministry and tourist guides recognised by the state governments and travel and tourism stakeholders (TTS) recognized by the ministry.

Loans will be provided with a 100 per cent guarantee up to the following limits - Rs. 10,00,000 for TTS ( per agency) and Rs 1,00,000 for tourist guides licenced at regional or state level

There will be no processing charges or prepayment charges and no additional collateral requirement

The scheme will be administered by the Tourism Ministry through NCGTC.

Sitharaman said the first five lakh tourists who come to India once international travel resumes will not have to pay visa fees.

"This will benefit any tourist only once. The scheme is applicable till March 31, 2022, or will be closed after distribution of first 5 lakh visas," she said.

A total of 10.93 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019, spent US $ 30.098 billion on leisure and business.

The average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days and average daily spending of a tourist in India is around $34 (Rs 2400). (ANI)

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