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dimanche 22 janvier 2012



Those of us with an urge to visit this teeming land of Real Fakirs and Fake Yogis, Excellent Food and Mediocre Wannabees imitating the West, full of surprises and unexpected and unwanted human interactions… VISA is usually a problem. Talk to travelers about getting a visa, and you can hear the horror stories of the masters of Bureaucracy, the Indian Civil Servant.
I was at the Embassy of India to request a visitor’s visa to India. The lower level official said I would take your application and come back in five days time; it is the proverbial five days of the Indian Embassy. I made no complaints. I went to the receptionist and asked whether I could say Hello to HE Dr. Balakrishnan who was then ambassador from India to Cuba. He had paid a visit to my house in Baracoa and told me to say Hi if I am ever at the embassy. We had a pleasant chat, a tea in the proper fashion and before I left, he asked me, Can I do anything for you? I told him, yes; I need a tourist visa to India. I will take care of it, and we bid good-bye.
That afternoon the secretary from the Embassy called to say my visa was ready!
My travel plans are usually made at the last moment and not having a long term visa to India many a times hinders ones plans, especially with this new rule of not being able to return to the country within two months of departure from India.
So, this morning, as I was sipping a nice home made Chai at a home in suburban Bangalore, waiting freshly prepared (from the scratch) of a Kerala dish called Uthappam, I was glad to read the following News Item:  about Visa on Arrival

“Countries that could be offered VoA include MalaysiaThailandBruneiSpainFrance, GermanySwedenRussiaUkraine, KazakhstanBrazil and South Africa.

Ramping up tourist numbers is seen as a significant revenue earner with 600,000 foreign visitors a year being a miniscule proportion of global tourism. With timely intervention, the sector can grow much faster than the 24 million jobs currently targeted in the 12th Plan. So far, the VoA scheme has registered modest success with over 10,000 visas issued last year. 

At present, 13 countries whose nationals can avail a visa on arrival include Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos and Myanmar. But the list excludes more populous nations even in the Asean who can be tapped for a much larger tourist footfall. “

I am glad to see France in the list but when will they include Australia?
I know the two governments have an uneasy relationship but I am sure it is only a matter of time when Australia will be included in the list.