Russians to Get Indian Visa on Arrival

Vladimir Savelyev, 16.01.2014 12:00
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Indian mass media outlets, citing Strategic Affairs Minister of India Rajeev Shukla, report that the country’s authorities are going to expand the list of countries the citizens of which can get an Indian visa right at the airport upon arriving in India. Currently there are eleven countries that have this right. The revised list shall include 29 countries more, among them Russia, the US, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden and Poland.

The Prime Minister of India, along with its Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, has already approved the initiative; now it is up to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to do the same.

Tatyana Vand, the general director of ‘Vand International Tour’, believes that streamlining the visa regime will benefit India in terms of inbound tourism, which can grow 15%.

Indian Consulate’s work is intermittent and quite unreliable: the number of days it takes them to issue a visa can vary from 5 to 10 days,” she told TRN magazine. “The new visa issuing procedure will eliminate this uncertainty.”

When it comes to its Indian destination, excursions are the top priority for “Vand International”. According to Tatyana Vand, the most popular programs are the “Golden Triangle”, its variant trip that includes Goa, and “Golden Triangle” + Khajuraho. There is a growing demand for the tour Bombay + Goa, and the operator also sends small tourist groups to Varanasi.

Speaking of Goa, we do not really care for it that much. Many hotels of the state are worse than their star rating suggests, the excursion program is adequate at best, and compared to other countries the number of repeat clients for this destination is quite minuscule,” said the general director of “Vanda International”.

General Director of “Pegas Touristik” Anna Podgornaya told TRN magazine that talks of issuing visas to Russians at Indian airports have been going on in the Indian government for a good five years, but as of yet “Pegas” has not received any official confirmation regarding the issue.

If this were really to happen, then the tourist flow to Goa could increase 20%,” she said. “Easing the visa regime will give Russians the opportunity to buy the much-sought-after last minute tours.”

According to Podgornaya, all the New Year tours for Goya, both from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and from regions, were sold at the regular rate.

The operator plans to carry out about 100 charter flights from Moscow to Goa per season. The declared passenger traffic is 22 thousand seats. During the first season the operator plans to transport about 4,400 tourists from St. Petersburg.

According to Rostourism, 124 thousand Russians (101 thousand of them tourists) visited India during nine months of the last year.

Victor Albukerk, Russia’s honorary consul to Goa, says that the annual Russian tourist flow to Goa is nearing the mark of 200 thousand people.

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