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First 5 lakh tourist visas issued once India allows entry to this visitors will be issued free

(G.N.S) Dt. 28

New Delhi

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced these steps to ensure survival of the Covid-ravaged tourism sector as part of an economic package on Monday.

Pre-Covid 2019 saw almost 1.1 crore foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) who collectively spent $30 billion on leisure and business.

“The average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days and their average daily spending per tourist is about $34 (Rs 2,400). Once (tourism) visa issuance resumes, the first 5 lakh tourists visas will be issued free of charge,” Sitharaman said.

This benefit will be available only once per tourist. The scheme, which forgoes Rs 100 crore revenue from this head, will be applicable till March 31, 2022 or till the first 5 lakh visas are issued.

The “reviving tourism” package for over 11,000 registered tourist guides and travel stakeholders comes in the form of a new loan guarantee scheme where working capital or personal loans will be provided to people in tourism sector to discharge liabilities and restart businesses impacted due to the pandemic.

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