Lonely Planet Writer

India's new e-visa system sparks UK tourist boom

A new e-visa scheme which has simplified travel to India has led to a boom in the number of British tourists visiting the Asian country, according to new figures.

India plans to have 200 new airports by 2024. Image by Dennis Jarvis / CC BY-SA 2.0
E-visas into India has helped simplify travel which in turn has seen thousands more Britons travel there. Image by Dennis Jarvis / CC BY-SA 2.0

The UK Ministry of Tourism in New Delhi has revealed that Britons accounted for almost a quarter of all visitors who arrived in India using the electronic system in November.  The Daily Telegraph reports that over 20,000 UK visitors travelled after applying online, with American tourists next in line just ahead of the Russians. About 800,000 holiday-makers head to India on an annual basis and the new e-visa seems to have copper-fastened those numbers because of more efficient time usage and less cost to get proper documentation.

India: new easier to process visas has led to  thousands more travelling to the sub-continent
New easier to process visas in to India has led to over 20,000 more people  travelling to the sub-continent Image by Sanyam Bahga / CC BY-SA 2.0

The “E-Tourist Visa Scheme” was launched on a limited basis 13 months ago, but was then expanded to encompass 113 countries last August. The new system allows would-be visitors to apply remotely for a visa, unlike the previous situation where travellers had to book an appointment and display proper documents at processing centres. Of equal if not greater significance is the question of cost which sees an Indian visa reduced from £89 to less than £40.

India hopes that by eradicating the red tape and moving to the e-visa system, they will continue to benefit from the number of people wanting to visit. Sub-continent specialists Cox & Kings Sue Livsey said the reduction in cost was “great news” for those planning to visit India.” Mehra Dalton of Greaves India said the new arrangement would make the area more “flexible than ever before” for tourists.