To promote tourism in country, The ministry of home affairs has cleared a proposal by the tourism ministry to give pre-activated SIM cards as welcome kit for tourists arriving on electronic visas in India.
Senior Home Ministry official said “Even though there are issues of security, communication is important for any visitor. Since we are giving e-tourist visa to citizens of a limited number of countries and that too after proper verification, we are giving our approval to the proposal of giving SIM cards to tourists.”
The tourism ministry had proposed this idea to boost the country’s image as a tourist friendly. Tourism Ministry is planning to gift a kit comprising a SIM card, Maps, Booklets and CD with information about various tourist destinations, details regarding whom to contact in case of any emergency among other things.
The e-tourist visa is currently given to 113 countries and government plans to raise it to 150 countries by March 31, 2016. Tourists can arrive in 16 designated airports across the country. The tourism ministry has build a five member committee headed by Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi to look into modalities of it.
Tourist visa on arrival (TVoA) is enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) well known as e-tourist visa scheme was launched on November 27, 2014.
According to an official estimate, during January – November of 2015 a total of 3,41,683 tourists arrived on e-tourist visa compared to 24,963 during the corresponding period of previous year.