In addition to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, Tourist Visas on Arrival (TVoA) are soon expected to be available at Trivandrum International Airport, making it the fifth port of entry at which the scheme is operating.
Thiruvananthapuram figures along with Goa and Bengaluru on the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) shortlist for granting 30-day TVoAs. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) insists the facility is ready to operate the scheme with a facilitation centre, an exclusive visa desk, facilities for taking photographs of the visiting foreign nationals, a foreign exchange counter, a holding area, signboards and other infrastructure at the new international terminal. Owing to its preparedness, the TVoA is expected to be introduced soon, reports The Hindu newspaper.
Kerala registered 7,32,985 foreign tourist arrivals in 2011, earning INR4,221.99 crore in foreign exchange, and this new development will propel the state towards its target of 30 lakh foreign tourist arrivals by 2021.
The TVoA scheme is currently available to holidaymakers from 11 countries, including Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar and Indonesia. This could soon be extended after the Ministry of External Affairs approved it for the citizens of France, Germany and Russia. This proposal is now waiting for BOI approval.