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Acknowledging just how powerful rising economies like China had become in the tourism industry, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the launch of e-visa facility for Chinese tourists.
“I am delighted to share that the e-Tourist Visa is now available to passport holders of China,” Modi wrote on Chinese social media account Weibo on Thursday.
“I had talked about this during my China visit and the Government of India has fulfilled this promise. This will deepen connectivity between our nations. Come, experience the beauty of Incredible India,” he said.
The Indian Embassy and the Indian Consulate in Hong Kong announced the implementation of the ‘Electronic Travel Authorisation for Chinese nationals’ or e-visa with immediate effect from Thursday to all Chinese nationals.
“The implementation of e-tourist visa will enable Chinese nationals to visit India with ease for recreation, sight- seeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short- duration medical treatment or casual business visit,” the Embassy said in press release in Hong Kong.
The move was aimed at attracting a chunk of about 107 million Chinese tourists who visited abroad last year.
The e-visa facility grants 30 days visa for Chinese tourists who can enter India through nine Indian cities- Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum.
The Indian Consulate in Hong Kong also announced that the scheme would be open to residents of Hong Kong and Macau.
Indians do not need visas to visit the former British colony.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), growth in China as a source of tourists grew 16 per cent, with France and Italy growing at 10 and 8 per cent respectively in 2013.
Ninety-seven million Chinese traveled abroad in 2013, rising from 14 million in 2012, according to China’s National Tourism Administration in January. The figure is expected to rise over 100 million this year.
To boost tourism the two countries had set 2015 as the “Visit India Year in China” while 2016 will be the “Visit China Year in India”.
China’s Communist Party-run Global Times, during Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit earlier in May, said in an editorial that Sino-Indian cooperation should not be held hostage to western suspicion.
“It is obvious that the Western elite doesn’t want to see India and China drawing closer to each other, because it will confront their vision for Asia’s future,” said the editorial.
TBP and Agencies