Here’s why India is becoming a popular travel destination for Omanis

Here’s why India is becoming a popular travel destination for Omanis

India’s Embassy in Muscat has issued more than 49,000 visas to Omanis, including 31,900 tourist visas so far this year, a senior official revealed. In 2016, the Embassy of India in Muscat issued more than 95,000 visas. The figures were released during the “Know India Seminar,” which was organised by the Embassy of India in Muscat in association with India Tourism, Dubai.

Around 120 officials from the government sector and tour operators took part in the seminar. Airlines and other stakeholders in Oman, who are involved in facilitating the visit of Omani travellers to India, were also present. Puneet Sharma, first secretary (consular), Indian Embassy gave a detailed presentation and familiarised participants with visa regulations introduced by Government of India for simplifying the process of obtaining visa.

I.R.V. Rao, assistant director of India Tourism, Dubai, also gave a presentation on “Incredible India” and explained how the country is a preferred tourist destination. “People of Oman are familiar with India, it’s incredible beauty, rich diversity of cultures, languages and religions,” Rao said.

“A notable feature of the people-to-people contacts between India and Oman in recent times has been the increasing tourist flow to ‘Incredible India’ from Oman,” he said. India is dotted with rich cultural, natural and historical sites, including a number of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. India is also endowed with gushing rivers, lofty snow-capped mountains, green plains, mystic deserts and serene backwaters etc.

“With such incredible cultural diversity expressed in diverse attires, languages, customs, crafts, festivals and cuisines, India is a traveller’s paradise,” the presentation showed.

In recent times, India has also emerged as a preferred destination for medical and wellness tourism, with numerous Omanis choosing India for their medical treatment at various state-of-the-art hospitals. “People travel to India for medical treatment because India has excellent health care facilities. Indian doctors are well-known for their competence and experience and the cost of medical treatment in India is much lower when compared with other countries,” an embassy official said.

With a view to further streamline and rationalise the existing visa fee regime, the Government of India has introduced various changes in the existing visa fee structure for foreign visitors travelling to India, including for Omanis.

In order to increase the number of medical tourists to India and to project India as a preferred medical destination due to its world-class medical facilities, the Government has reduced medical visa fee, compared with the Tourist Visa fee. From April 1 this year, Medical Visa applicants have to pay OMR 30.900 for a visa valid up to six months and OMR 46.300 for a visa valid for up to a year.

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