The government is expected to issue over 10 lakh e-Tourist visas to foreigners this year, as it recently expanded the scheme to 150 countries.
Nearly 5 lakh foreign tourists visited the country last year using the e-Tourist visa facility, accounting for 25 percent of total tourists arrivals, official sources told Press Trust of India.
"We are planning to issue around 10 lakh e-Tourist visas this year," the sources said.
Earlier this week, the government extended the e-Tourist visa facility to 37 more nations, taking the total number of countries availing the scheme to 150.
The 37 countries newly included in e-Tourist Visa scheme are Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d'lvoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Namibia, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The e-Tourist visa scheme, launched in November 2014, is aimed at simplifying the lengthy procedures for international travellers who visit India for sightseeing, medical treatment, short business trips or to meet friends and relatives.
Since the launch of the scheme, more than 7.5 lakh visas have been issued under it. At present, 3,500 e-Tourist visas are being granted on average daily to foreign nationals.
Overall, a total of 3,41,683 tourists had arrived in the country from January to November last year, against 24,963 in the corresponding period in 2014, posting a growth of 1,268.8 percent.
The scheme enables citizens who intend to visit the country to apply for visa online without approaching the Indian Mission.