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NEW DELHI, January 10, 2:00 /ITAR-TASS/. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs is ready to enlarge the list of countries whose residents can get an entry visa to the country upon arrival.
Added to the list will be Russia and Kazakhstan as well as several other countries.
Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said in interview published by The Economic Times on Friday, January 10, that this would soon become a reality once the interior ministry gave its approval.
The Planning Commission sent such recommendations to the interior ministry last October. In addition to Russia and Kazakhstan, easier visa regulations will also apply to citizens of Brazil, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and Germany.
India already has similar agreements with Japan, Finland, Singapore, Indonesia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, and Myanmar.
In 2012, India was visited by 6.58 million foreign tourists, an increase of 4.3 percent from the previous year.
India is one of the favourite tourism destinations for Russian vacationers. Many of them go to Goa. More than 150,000 of them visit Goa resorts every year and their number may have reached 200,000 last year.
To help the tourists, a Russian information centre opened in Goa in the middle of December 2013. The centre will provide help and advice to Russian tourists or Indians who wish to travel to Russia, Yekaterina Belyakova, managing partner of the travel agency Tara Travel, which had initiated the project, told ITAR-TASS.
“Many of the Russians vacationing in Goa have no or very little command of English, and sometimes it is hard for them to get even the simplest information,” she said.
The centre’s offices will work in Candolim in the north of Goa and in Benaulin in the south. It also has a 24-hour call centre with Russian-speaking operators at +918554992744.
“The centre is a non-profit organisation. It will provide all types of information to tourists for free: where they can stay, where to go in the evening or now to travel to Goa to the Himalaya,” Belyakova said.
The centre will also work with Indians wishing to visit Russia. “The Olympic Games in Sochi are drawing closer and Indians wishing to be there will now have an opportunity to find out how they can do that. More than a million tourists from across India come to Goa every year,” Belyakova said.
Other tasks to be fulfilled by the centre include the promotion of Russian culture in Goa, and the first such event was a Russian romance evening on Orthodox Christmas celebrated on January 7.