Patel made the announcement at the state tourism ministers’ conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The government is also considering a one-month e-visa for tourists at a fee of $25. It would be reduced to $10 during the off-season (April-June), initially for tourists from Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Russia, Ukraine, the UK and the US.
The developments followed a meeting involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chaired by the principal secretary on measures, to boost flow of foreign tourists.
Patel said the visa fee reduction measures are under consideration of the ministry of external affairs and urged for better coordination between the Centre and states to increase the tourist inflow.
He said everyone has to make a concerted effort to realise the Prime Minister’s vision of doubling the number of tourists — both domestic and foreign — in five years. “We need to change the perception of foreign tourists coming to India and work together for that.”
The government increased evisa fee for most countries to $80 from $50 in June last year.
ET had reported in its August 6 edition that the ministry had submitted a plan to the Prime Minister’s Office to encourage India-bound tourism after a slowdown in the number of foreign tourists continued for the second year. Ministry officials had told ET that different industry demands were being considered, and a lot of things were in process.
According to the website Indianvisaonline.gov, the electronic tourist visa has a duration of one year from the date of the grant. It allows multiple entries and conditions stipulate that the continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days for countries except the US, UK, Canada and Japan. For these countries, the period is extended to 180 days.