E-Tourist Visa For Foreigners Willing To Pursue Yoga Courses

NEW DELHI: Welcoming the Centre’s decision to extend e-tourist visa to foreigners willing to pursue yoga courses in New Delhi, tour operators’ body Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) on Friday said the move would have a “positive impact” on tourism sector as the ancient Indian practice is becoming popular globally.

“The decision to give e-tourist visa to foreigners undergoing yoga courses will have a positive impact on the flow of tourists. We welcome the decision,” IATO President Pronab Sarkar said.

He said the move would not have “immediate impact” but with the ancient Indian art picking up globally, there would be increase in the number of tourists who would like to come to India for learning yoga.

The government had on Friday announced that it would give tourist visa and e-tourist visa to foreigners willing to undergo short-term courses on yoga in its bid to popularise the ancient spiritual and ascetic practice globally.

Attending a short-term yoga programme will be included in the list of permissible activities under tourist visa.

Besides, the government also decided to include short duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine in the list of permissible activities under e-tourist visa.

At present, a tourist visa is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight-seeing and casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.

Launched in November 2014, the e-tourist visa facility is at present available to nationals of 150 countries.

Since the launch of the scheme, over nine lakh visas have been issued. At present, on an average, 3,500 e-tourist visas are granted daily to foreign nationals.