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UK tourists expected to be snubbed over India visa plans

Britain is expected to be excluded from new plans that will allow tourists from selected European countries to buy visas on arrival in India.

Travellers from Germany, France, Spain, Poland and Russia should all benefit from the proposed changes to the scheme, which is being extended in a bid to boost tourism to the country.

The changes prompted India to increase the cost of visas for Britons from £38 to £82, along with the processing fee, which rose by £1, to £10.20.

Mr Shaibal Roy Chowdhury, a spokesperson for the Indian High Commission, told MailOnline Travel that nothing had been finalised but said: ‘For the UK nationals, to the best of our knowledge, as of now there is no such proposal on the table.The snub is thought to be a response to the recent tightening of visa regulations for Indians travelling to the UK, which has led to an 18 per cent drop in visitors from the country, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

‘Visa protocols and guidelines are usually on a reciprocal basis. Hence, visa on arrival for UK nationals will perhaps entail a similar facility for Indian nationals.’

However, Mr Chowdhury said that the current visa system worked well for UK travellers to India and said most tourist visa applications were actually cleared within three working days.The 800,000 Britons who travel to India each year have to complete a postal application in order to gain a visa to enter the country, which can take up to 10 days to process.

At present, travellers from 11 countries are eligible for visas on arrival, including Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Phillippines, Laos and Burma.

The news follows David Cameron’s visit to India last month during which he tried to strengthen ties with the country.The visa costs around £40 and tourists can stay a maximum of 30 days. It is only valid for a single entry.

The Prime Minister led the largest overseas business delegation ever assembled by No 10 in a bid to drum up business.

Mr Cameron said in a speech in Mumbai that he wanted Britain’s partnership with India to be ‘a really special relationship’ for the 21st century.

March 11′ 2013

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2291594/UK-tourists-expected-snubbed-India-visa-plans.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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