India and China relax visa rules
Authorities in India and China have relaxed restrictions on tourist visas in an attempt to encourage more foreign visitors.
This week India’s government announced that many tourists – including those from Britain – will no longer be affected by an unpopular re-entry rule, which was introduced after the Mumbai terrorist attack.
The policy had prevented travellers from re-entering the country less than 60 days after leaving it without special permission from the Indian High Commission.
It meant that travellers planning two individual trips to India in quick succession, or anyone hoping to hop over the border to neighbouring Nepal or Bangladesh, and then return, were often unable to do so.
Tour operators, many of whom have been vocal in their criticism of the policy, welcomed the U-turn.
“Doing away with these restrictions will make things easier for business and leisure travellers, as well as those hoping to visit their families,” said a spokesman for The Ultimate Travel Company, which runs tours to the country.
The Indian tourism ministry also praised the announcement, and predicted that foreign arrivals would increase. Around six million tourists visit India each year, including 800,000 from Britain.
Meanwhile travellers from the European Union will, from next year, be able to visit Beijing for up to 72 hours without applying for a visa at all. The move was announced by the city’s tourism body on Thursday.
Oliver Smith, Telegraph.co.uk