Tourist agents welcome India's decision to extend visas...
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Tourist agents welcome India's decision to extend visas on arrival for Jordanians

by Abeer Numan | Dec 24, 2014 | 22:45

AMMAN — India has started extending tourist visas on arrival (TVoA) for Jordanians who can now benefit from this service two times a year, by simply applying online.

The step was applauded on Tuesday by tourist agents who attended a presentation session hosted by India’s embassy in Amman to further acquaint them with online procedures and TVoA requirements.

Interviewed by The Jordan Times, tourist agents described the step, which went into effect November 27, as positive and a step in the right direction that will help promote tourism to this destination. 

“Certainly, this is better. It will save tourist agencies and passengers time and effort,” said Mohammad Matarneh, Oman Air sales supervisor in Jordan.

“This is much easier; everything is done online,” he added.

“In the regular way, where the visa is obtained from the embassy, we have to escort passengers to the finger-print taking office. This is the main hassle; it takes like a whole day,” Matarneh said. 

“Now, this is done at the airport, upon arrival, so it is easier,” according to Matarneh’s colleague who joined the conversation. 

Passengers can still obtain a tourist visa via the embassy, but they no longer have to visit the embassy’s premises to obtain a tourist visa with the TVoA option, under which they can obtain a visa for 30 days, twice in a calendar year.  

“To obtain a tourist visa on arrival, travellers should make sure that their passports are valid for at least six months, fill in the online application and pay visa fees, at least four days before they land in India,” I.R.V. Rao, assistant director of regional India Tourism office in Dubai, told attendees.

The online application is processed after the visa fee is paid, he said, pointing out that this facility is now available in three Arab countries: the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan. 

Addressing attendees, India’s Ambassador to Jordan Anil Trigunayat highlighted the importance of the TVoA, saying it gives travellers the chance to enjoy recreational areas in India, and maybe explore business or other opportunities, and decide to visit again. 

“In India we have a saying which is translated into English as ‘the guest is God,’” Trigunayat said, highlighting Indians’ friendliness.

“Certain incidents sometimes happen, but this should not discourage visitors,” the ambassador said, noting that there are 32 World Heritage Sites in India, besides its cultural diversity and festive nature, especially in the rural areas.  

Turning to the visa issue, he said: “Our embassy is actively working on providing visas since we want to see more Jordanians and other foreigners come to India. Now we do not want you to go to the visa centre to submit your applications, but just go to the website and apply online and you will get a confirmation in 72 hours.”  

Trigunayat conceded that there might be technical glitches, but noted that that can happen everywhere. 

Rana Sbeitan, a tourism agency representative, said the step will yield positive returns for the tourism business.

She praised India’s decision to issue TVoA for Jordanians, saying it will give a positive push to tourism in this direction. 

Currently there is more demand on tourist visits to Thailand and Malaysia, but this should encourage more Jordanians to visit India, she said, adding that now airfare on Qatar Airlines to India, for example is only JD320 for the round trip via Doha.    

The step will also encourage airlines to consider operating direct flights from Amman to India, especially as Royal Jordanian (RJ) suspended its direct flights to the Southeast Asian country in October this year, Sbeitan added. 

The ambassador described the suspension of RJ’s direct flights to India as “bad”, saying the embassy has been making contacts to see what can be done about that. 

Trigunayat highlighted the large numbers of Indian tourists who visited Jordan in 2013. “It was around 55,000 tourists last year,” he said.  

This is in addition to the large number of Indians investing and working in the Kingdom, the ambassador pointed out.

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