Foreign Travelers Arriving In India with an E-Visa Will Receive Free SIM Cards
In a recent new development to make trips to India much more comfortable, the tour operator’s body IATO has decided to offer free SIM cards, pre-activated to the foreign tourists as soon as they arrive in India, provided they apply for an e-visa.
This is a much awaited for service, which has finally been launched as the Union Tourism Minister, Sri Mahesh Sharma. He further added by saying that this SIM pre-activated card will come with INR 50 worth of talktime, and also 50 MB of data and will be a BSNL SIM card.
The service proposed will first be started at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, and will then be expanded to 15 other major international airports in the nation, where the facility of applying for an e-visa is applicable.
Mr. Sharma further added, “This initiative will help our dear tourist guests to communicate immediately with the relatives back at home, and also with their tour operators, hotels, and other people. I came up with this idea when I had a similar experience the time I visited Sri Lanka.
This service will now ease the arduous task of getting a SIM card and then getting it approved for tourists who often have to wait for 2 hours or more to have their SIMs activated after arriving in India.
The secretary for tourism Vinod Zutshi revealed that last year almost 10 Lakh foreign tourists had arrived in India with an e-visa facility that was introduced on November 27, 2014. The facility is presently available in a total of 161 countries.
When asked about the expenses for this initiative, Zutshi expressed that the cost for these free SIM cards will be borne out of the tourism promotion budget of the ministry which he revealed to be “well within the budget”.
The tour operator’s body IATO has given their nod to this idea and has stated that this in turn is “a very gesture”.
They further went on to say, “We believe we are the first nation ever to give away free SIM cards to the tourists, and this is very good gesture which will make their arrival experience more comfortable for those travelling to this country”, such were the views expressed by the senior Vice President of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Rajeev Kohli.
Mahesh Sharma also said that with these free SIMs available with a 30 days validity will enable the travelers to reach out to the 24 hour available tourist helpline number which is available in 12 different languages that includes Russian, German and Japanese.
When asked as to why this service is being offered to people applying for e-visas only, the officials said that the complete information required for verification procedures will already be available in advance, this information can be synced immediately with data for the authorities concerned with SIM card service.
Furthermore, the minister also added that demonetization had no impact on the tourists arriving as the foreign exchange centres recorded earnings had a robust growth during this time. As a part of their welcome kit, tourists coming to India on e-visa will also receive their SIM cards now at the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) counters at the airports.
The system as per the e-visa scheme is that an applicant will receive an email authorization which will state that they are welcome to travel to India once their application is approved. This authorization mail can be printed out and the person can travel to the country with it.
Upon arrival he/she must present this mail to the immigration officials who would then stamp an entry for them into the country.
So just Plan your tailor-made trip to India and enjoy the offer.