Bhubaneswar: Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here has been granted the much-awaited e-visa facility. The e-visa counter has also started operating at the airport from January 16, Airport director Suresh Chandra Hota said.
The approval came through the Centre’s notification dated December 31, 2018. The airport now joins 28 other airports in the country having this facility.
The main advantage of e-visa is that the travellers no longer need to come to the embassy or consulate of the destination country, in this case India. The application for the visa can be completed online. The Indian e-visa allows for double entry, with a maximum stay of 60 days per entry.
Upbeat over the development, the travel and tourism industry in the state exuded confidence of a significant jump in international tourist arrivals, especially from south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
Odisha tourism has had a good earning from foreign tourist arrival this winter, with an estimated 15,000 arrival both in November and December, 2018, largely due to the Men’s Hockey World Cup. It has also witnessed a sustained growth of about 30 per cent in foreign tourist inflows during the last three years. About one lakh tourists arrived in 2017.
“We could also expect more airlines such as Jet Airways and Spice Jet starting operations from Bhubaneswar to international destinations as the e-visa facility will ensure a steady flow of international tourist arrivals into the city,” said founder of Travel Links, Benjamin Simon.
Airlines could also operate regular flights without having to seek government’s financial support to maintain regular service and keep the routes viable. At present, Air India and Air Asia are the only two carriers operating flights out of Bhubaneswar to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur respectively.