In a bid to revive the tourism industry amid a COVD-hit economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, 28 June, announced a slew of measures as a part of a loan guarantee scheme, including waiver of visa fees to five lakh tourists and loan guarantee schemes for tourist guides.
In a press briefing, Sitharaman said that the waiver of the visa fees will be applicable till March 2022 or till five lakh tourists have availed of the benefits.
“Once international travel resumes, the first five lakh tourists who come to India will not have to pay visa fees. The scheme will be applicable till 31 March, 2022, or will be closed after the distribution of the first five lakh visas,” Sitharaman announced.
However, one tourist can avail the benefit only once, she said, adding that the total financial implication of this scheme would be Rs 100 crore.
“To revive tourism, the new loan guarantee scheme will support 10,700 regional level tourist guides and Travel & Tourism stakeholders (TTS) recognized by the Ministry of Tourism and the state governments,” she said.
She said that the loans will be provided with a 100 percent guarantee up to certain limits.
She further announced that for TTS the limit will be Rs 10 lakh per agency and Rs 1 lakh for tourist guides, with no processing charges, no foreclosure payment charges, and no additional collateral.
The announcements by Sitharaman came as a part of eight economic relief measures announced for several sectors hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.