Government launches free SIM service for tourists on e-visa
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 16, 2017,
Feb 16, 2017, 17:19
The Narendra Modi government today launched an initiative that provides pre-loaded SIM cards to foreign tourists on their arrival in India on e-Visa.
Indian Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma launched the initiative as it will help foreign tourists in communicating in India.
These pre-loaded SIM Cards will have a validity of 30 days, and will help the tourists to instantly connect with 24-hour tourist helpline number which is available in 12 worldwide languages.
The pre-loaded SIM card facility was announced in association with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, (BSNL) where the network operator will distribute these SIM cards to foreign tourists on their arrival in India.
The facility will be initially available in the Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3 Terminal), New Delhi and later cover remaining 15 international airports, where e-Visa facility is now available. "I got this idea when I had got a similar card when I had visited Sri Lanka", Sharma said.
"The initiative will help tourists immediately communicate with their relatives back home, hotels, tour operators and so on". It will later be launched at 15 other airports in the country. BSNL will be collecting a copy of the e-visa and the first page of the passport before providing the pre-loaded SIM.
In addition to making communication easier for tourists, these SIM cards are also aimed at contacting the 24×7 multi-lingual toll free helpline recently launched by the Ministry of Tourism. "A Russian speaking or Japanese speaking tourist can use the helpline easily", Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma told after inaugurating the scheme. "But I think this scheme should be extended to those foreign tourists also who come here on regular visa", Subhash Goyal, President of Indian Association of Tour Operators told Sputnik. The minister said that the e-visa service was being provided to citizens of 161 countries and 10 lakh e-visas were issued in 2016. This facility has been made available only for tourists visiting India on e-visa.