Muscat: The Indian government has relaxed the tourist visa rule that imposes a two-month gap between visits for foreign nationals. The news has been welcomed by Omanis who now no longer need to wait for two months to re-enter India.
"We have been hoping for a change in this rule since it was imposed. This has come as a huge relief for many Omanis who travel frequently to India," said Saud Al Salmi, a teacher in a government school. The restriction was imposed in 2009 after the Mumbai terror attacks.
Speaking to Times of Oman, S Srinivas, first secretary, Indian Embassy Muscat, said, "We are pleased to inform about the Government of India's decision to lift restriction of two months' gap to visit India for foreign nationals who intend to visit India on a tourist visa.
"As such, with immediate effect, all foreigners (except certain categories) can visit India for tourism purposes without the time-gap restriction of two months between two consecutive visits."
"The new guidelines will benefit Omani nationals and foreigners resident in the Sultanate with easier travel to India on tourist visas," he added.
"This change takes care of our long-pending demand", said an official from the travel industry adding that, "it would add to the tourist traffic from Oman to India." The region is emerging as an important tourism source for India, and Oman contributes significantly to India's tourism figures. Visitors from Oman to India reached 42,208 in 2011 and 39,781 in the first nine months of 2012, according to Indian Embassy figures.
The Indian government is also considering expanding the 'tourist visa on arrival' status to some more countries. At present 11 countries across the world enjoy the tourist visa on arrival facility.