In Hyderabad, Visa on arrival not popular

The much hyped Visa-on-Arrival scheme launched at the RGIA in August.

Hyderabad: The much hyped Visa-on-Arrival scheme launched at the RGIA in August has not been able to attract many foreign tourists to the city. Almost four months hence, only 68 foreigners have made use of the scheme. On the other hand, in other cities like Bangalore, where the scheme was launched simultaneously, twice as many foreigners have already utilised the facility.

The visa-on-arrival facility has been available in the four metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai since January 2010. It was extended to Hyderabad as well as Bangalore, Kochi and Trivandrum from August 15 this year.

According to the tourism ministry, only 68 visas were availed in the city till the end of October while during the same period, in Bangalore, about 174 visas were availed. Tourism department officials, however, insist that the influx of international tourists in the city has not dipped.

“We don’t compare ourselves with other cities and states. The inflow of tourists continues without any decrease,” a senior official of the AP Tourism said. So far, the visa-on-arrival facility is provided only to a few countries. They include Luxembourg, New Zealand, Finland and Japan. It was extended to a couple of other Asian countries in 2011.

Senior tourism department officials cite the absence of direct flight connectivity between Hyderabad and the major cities of these countries as the primary reason for the arrival of a relatively lesser number of foreign tourists here. “Tourists generally land in Mumbai or Chennai, take the visa there and then come to Hyderabad,” an official explained.

( Source : dc )
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