E-visas for Chinese tourists – Step in the right direction?
On his China visit recently, PM Narendra Modi announced that India will now allow e-visas for Chinese tourists. Chinese nationals will no longer have to line up at an Indian embassy or consulate for tourist visas. Now, Chinese nationals travelling to India can apply for visas online, thus paving the way for more Chinese tourists to come to India. “We must seek inspiration from the pilgrims of the ancient times who braved the unknown in search of knowledge and enriched us both,” Mr. Modi said in a speech to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
The decision of extending e-visas for Chinese tourists came after it was found that the number of Indian tourists visiting China is bigger than that of Chinese nationals travelling to India. According to Brookings Institution, 168,952 Chinese nationals travelled to India in 2012 as compared to the 610,194 Indians that travelled to China. So now, in India’s massive attempt at trying to attract nationals from different countries to India with its e-visa program, China is one more important market.
The tourist visa program changed its name from ‘visa-on-arrival’ to ‘electronic visa’ after facing criticism that it wasn’t actually a visa-on-arrival but an online visa application form that took three days to process. What are your thoughts on this move by PM Narendra Modi? Do you think e-visas for Chinese tourists will help attract more Chinese nationals to India?