More broadly, he has said that “tourism enhances the economic development of
Mr Modi’s government is also to oversee already agreed changes in the visa
system which, from October 1, will enable travellers to pick up visas on
The initiatives – particularly the changes to the visa system – were widely
welcomed this week by India travel specialists. “The new visa rules will
really open up our country to visitors and enable more shorter breaks to the
country,” said Nakul Anand, executive director of the Delhi-based ITC luxury
hotel group. “We’re entering a new era of development in India. I think
there will be a tourism boom.”
Katie Parsons, a spokeswoman for Cox Kings, a long-haul travel specialist
company that began operations in India 256 years ago, described the proposed
changes as a “very positive development” that should make travelling to
India much easier.
Despite its many attractions – from holy cities like Varanasi to the peaks of
the Himalayas, the beaches of Goa and the buzz of cities such as Bombay
(Mumbai) – and the depreciation in recent months of the rupee against the
pound, India lags behind Asian rivals such as China and Singapore when it
comes to attracting tourists.
In addition to the visa complications, travellers have always been deterred by
overall standards of hygiene and cleanliness and the sheer difficulty of
moving around the country.
Of late, there has also been concern over the rise in cases of rape and sexual
molestation of women (including Western visitors), a trend the previous
government had already sought to tackle with the introduction of tough
sentences for offenders.
Additional reporting by Dean Nelson in Delhi
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