India plans to extend electronic travel authorization, or its e-visa facility, to six more countries that include China, the UK, Spain, France, Italy and Malaysia, a government official said on Friday.

In November last year, the government had launched an electronic tourist visa on arrival facility for 43 countries. The move is aimed at enhancing the share of foreign travel arrivals into India to 1% of total global tourists in next couple of years, from 0.64% at present.

“The name of these six countries recommended by the (tourism) ministry to department of home affairs for issuance of e-visa comprised China, UK, Spain, France, Italy and Malaysia," tourism secretary Lalit K. Panwar said at a conclave organised by an industry lobby group. “The finance ministry is expected to release a windfall bonanza budget allocations for the tourism sector on 28 February since it is categorized under the priority developmental sector for the Indian economy in Prime Minister Modi’s agenda for India’s economic and social and cultural uplift."

The tourism ministry has issued 65,000 e-visas in the past three months, official data show.

Under the scheme, tourists from these countries can apply for visa online by going to www.onlinevisa.gov.in, and once approved, the applicant receives an email authorizing their travel to India. On arrival in India, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities.

In 2014, the annual foreign exchange earnings from tourist arrivals totalled $19.657 billion compared with $18.445 billion in 2013.

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