Indian visas to Omanis more than double in 2017

MUSCAT, march 28 – The Indian Embassy organised an ‘India Tourism Roadshow’ on Tuesday to promote ‘Incredible India’ as a preferred destination for tourism including medical and wellness tourism for Omanis.
The roadshow was organised with a view to familiarise various stakeholders in outbound tourism from Oman with the increasing ease with which people can travel to India as well as the diverse tourist attractions and advanced medical facilities in India.
The embassy has been engaged in various activities for promoting tourism, including medical tourism, from Oman to India. Over the years, the number of visas issued by the embassy has increased from about 59,000 issued in 2013 to 101,578 visas, including 35,920 e-visas, in 2017. Notably, about 95 per cent of visas issued in 2017 were for tourism and medical tourism purposes. Due to the introduction of e-Visa, people of Oman are able to obtain short-term visas through online procedure, which has also contributed to rise in number of Omanis visiting India. Shaikh Hilal bin Marhoun al Maamari, Chief of West Asia Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the chief guest at the event, while Mohammed al Riyami, Director, International Cooperation, Ministry of Tourism, was the guest of honour. Around 180 Omani officials and representatives of tour operators, travel agents, airlines and other stakeholders participated in the roadshow.
I V Rao, Representative of India Tourism, Dubai, made a presentation on ‘Incredible India’. Representatives of the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also made presentations on tourist attractions in their respective states. A video highlighting tourist attractions of Goa was also played. As the embassy has been taking initiatives for increasing the ease with which people can travel to India, Kannan Nair, Second Secretary (Consular) at the embassy, gave an overview on visa requirements for travel to India.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of India, Indra Mani Pandey, highlighted the historical relations between India and Oman anchored in people-to-people contacts and called for expanding tourism exchanges between the two countries in order to strengthen bilateral relations. He pointed out that Indian community can play the role of a catalyst in encouraging mutual tourism. In this context, he referred to the MoU between India and Oman on cooperation in tourism, which was signed during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Oman during February 11-12.