New Delhi: Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma today said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's announcement of extending visa-on-arrival facility to 150 countries from the existing 43 would help promote tourism.
"The announcement by the Finance Minister to extend Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) facility to 150 countries in stages from the current 43 is a big step to promote tourism," Sharma said in an official release today.
The Minister said the growth of tourism was important for the overall growth of India's economy, adding that the revenue from the tourism sector can be utilised for the development of the country.
"Tourism, in India, is a very important source of foreign exchange earnings and has high labour intensity," he added.
Congratulating Jaitley for presenting a "balanced, farsighted and growth-oriented budget", Sharma said the Finance Minister had given due importance to the tourism and hospitality sector in his first full budget.
The Minister also said that VOA facility combined with the latest introduction of Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will help in achieving the target of increasing India's share in international tourism to more than one per cent soon.
VOA facility enabled by ETA has already shown remarkable results, he said.
A total of 25,023 tourist arrived by availing VoA in Jnauary 2015 as compared to 1,903 VoA a year-ago, thereby posting a massive 1214.9 per cent growth.