The features now being used by India to attract more foreign visitors include online visa applications and the slogan “The Guest is God”. Citizens of 44 countries, including Germany, can already benefit from this easing of entry formalities. It is possible that the service will be extended this year to include travellers from 150 countries. Those who make use of this service and who also pay their visa fee online then only have to provide a fingerprint on arrival in order to obtain the necessary stamp in their passports.
The subcontinent has set itself the target of attracting twelve per cent more tourists this year. In 2014 some 7.7 million foreign visitors were recorded, an increase of more than ten per cent over the previous year. With this achievement India achieved results that were twice the worldwide average (4.7 per cent), a sign that security considerations are no longer such a significant factor. Nevertheless, tourism officials emphasize that the country is still pursuing a zero tolerance policy with regard to extremists. There has also been a positive response to the complaints from visitors on golfing holidays that the baggage limit of 15 kilos on some domestic flights is too low for anyone carrying normal holiday baggage as well as golf equipment. Thomas Rietig
Photo: Pushkar in Rajasthan ©Henri Giese