The year 2014 will remain a historic year for tourism industry since the Government implemented the first phase of Tourist Visas on Arrival (TVOAs) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). As a result of this, more than 22,000 visas were processed till 31.12.2014 since its launch on 27th November, 2014. Out of this, 6100 TVOAs are from the US and 3800 from Russia. The Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled with the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Scheme was launched on 27.11.2014 for nationals of 43 countries whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight- seeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives etc. for a short stay of 30 days A brochure on Visa-on-Arrival enabled by ETA has also been published.
Several path breaking initiatives have been taken recently, some in partnership with Ministry of Culture, to promote tourism. Important initiatives are as below:
1) E-Ticketing: The process of E-ticketing at important historical monuments has begun with the launch of E-ticketing at the Taj Mahal in Agra and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. This has been accomplished with the help of IRCTC.
2) Incredible India Tourist Helpline: Similarly, in another path breaking initiative, the Incredible India Tourist Helpline has been set up on a pilot basis to address and guide the tourists during any emergency which may include medical, crime natural calamities or on being stranded. This service will be available as toll free on telephone 1800111363 or on a short code 1363.
3) Adarsh Smarak: ASI has identified 25 monuments to be developed as Model Monuments. These monuments would be provided necessary tourist facilities including wi-fi, security, signages, encroachment free area, interpretation centres showing short films about the importance of monuments and signboards of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Some of the monuments included in Adarsh Smarak scheme are Leh Palace, Leh(J&K), Humayun’s Tomb(New Delhi), Red Fort,(Delhi), Shore Temple(Mahabalipuram), Elephanta Caves(Mumbai Maharashtra), Taj Mahal,Agra,(UP), Rani-ki-Vav(Gujarat) among others.
4) Welcome Cards: The Ministry of Tourism has launched the special welcome cards that will be handed to all the tourists, landing at our 9 International airports where Tourist Visa on Arrival Enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization facility is operational. This card will carry the information of the local India Tourism office along with online and offline contact information which the tourists can use in case of any queries.