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Tourist visa on arrival: CIAL selected
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) is one among the four airports selected by the interministerial co..
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) is one among the four airports selected by the interministerial coordination for tourism sector to allow visa on arrival facility which will give a big boost to the tourism scenario in Kerala with regard to the flow of foreign tourists.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) would take steps to facilitate extension of tourist visa on arrival to Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Bengaluru airports within one year. This is as part of emphasising the need to give tourism a major fillip during the 12th Plan and double the number of foreign tourists arriving in India.
CIAL managing director V J Kurian welcomed the decision and said that CIAL would provide all facilities for introducing the system.
A final decision in this regard is awaited, he said.
Tourism secretary Rani George said that this was a great opportunity for Kerala to explore the countries where visa on arrival was permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division. A request to introduce this facility was forwarded by the Tourism Department through Chief Minister earlier.
The tourist visa on arrival was allowed to citizens arriving from Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.
However, the facility to stamp the visa was introduced only at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai airports which was not beneficial to Kerala. Rani George said that as part of exploring new markets around the globe, the decision of the Union Government would attract more foreign tourists to Kerala.
Interactions will be held with the tour operators in these regions to propagate the facilities in Kerala and advantage of tourist visa on arrival.
Apart from the European countries, the inflow of tourists from Japan and Singapore has shown a sharp increase in Kerala.As part of introducing visa on arrival facility at CIAL, Kerala Tourism will explore all possibilities of attractingtourists from these countries and also plan road shows next year, she said.
Travel Agents Federation of India Kerala chairman Paulose K Mathew said thatpresently, majority of the touristsarriving in Kerala were from European countries such as Great Britain (UK), Germany, France, Austria, Italy and USA.
Nowadays,there are tourists from Gulf countries as well.
He pointed out that the visa on arrival facility should be extended to more countries and market the business on alarge scale.
There is also need for conducting road shows, bringing tour operatorsfrom other countries andshowcasing our products. The government should also ensure that more direct flights come from variouscountries to Kochi and CIAL shouldensure that special packages are given to chartered flights.
He pointed out that our neighbouring country Maldives attract nearly 10 chartered flights a day.
A case study must be conducted to implement the favourable recommendations for Kerala, he added.
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