Foreign Tourists May Be Able to Visit Restricted Areas in India Without Special Permit

first_imgForeign tourists may soon be allowed to visit some of the places that have been out of bounds for them until now without a special permit. However, tourists from Pakistan and China will not be allowed to visit these locations.“Discussions are on with the state governments to relax the Restricted Area Permit provisions for some areas for foreign tourists,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, reported PTI.The move is aimed at promoting tourism, generating job prospects for the local population as well as creating income for the state, an official from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was cited as saying by the news agency.The Indian home ministry is now assessing whether it should relax the Restricted Area Permit, according to which tourists from foreign nations have to obtain a special permission to visit some of the places that are protected or restricted.According to Rijiju, in order to categorize the possible venues for which the Protected Area Permit and the Restricted Area Permit provisions may be relaxed, the ministry will work with the other agencies as well as the state governments.However, the chances of nationals of Pakistan and China to obtain these relaxations may be slim, the official said, the report added.Some of the protected areas in India are the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, and some parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand. Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958, all areas falling between the inner line and the international border of some states have been declared as a protected area. The areas that have been deemed restricted are the entire Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some parts of Sikkim.Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a Protected or Restricted Area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority delegated with powers to issue a special permit to a foreigner.According to a Dec. 30, 2010 circular issued by the MHA, the entire area of the states of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland was excluded from the Protected Area regime for a period of one year initially from January 1, 2011. This is subject to some conditions.India earned $27 billion from its foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs), which crossed the 10-million mark, in 2017. The rise in numbers shown by the Ministry of Tourism was echoed by travel website TripAdvisor in its “2017 Inbound Travel Study” that revealed that international travel interest in India is increasing.India’s share of international tourist arrivals is 1.18 per cent in the world and 4.72 per cent in Asia, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism. The sector contributed 6.88 per cent to India’s GDP and provided 12 per cent of the jobs in 2017, Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons had said earlier. Related ItemsTourismlast_img read more