Tour companies cry foul over hike in Indian tourist visa fees

03 Apr 2017 / 13:13 H.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians planning to apply for a tourist visa to India are in for a shock following a 153% increase in tourist visa fees to the country.
Previously, Malaysians planning to visit the country had to only fork out RM180 for a six-month visa, but the new fee on the Indian High Commission website states that the new visa fees is RM456.
The fees are not inclusive of service charges.
The rise which took effect on Saturday has upset many quarters, including tour companies due to the last-minute manner of the change made by the high commission.
KPS Travels Sdn Bhd director K.P. Samy described the latest decision by the Indian High Commission as a shocking development.
"This is going to affect our business as well as the public especially members of the Indian community planning their travels there.
"I understand that fees are hiked up from time to time due to various factors but I urge the (Indian) High Commission or the Indian government to review the decision and set a reasonable fee instead," he told theSun when contacted, yesterday.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Indian Tour and Travel Association (Mita) president K. Thangavelu said the increase will be burdensome from the view of the travel associations and members of the public.
"I expect it to burden frequent travellers especially those from the Indian community that travel to India for religious pilgrimage or medical treatment," he said.
However, Thangavelu, who is also IVS Global Services Sdn Bhd operations head, the company that acts as the Indian High Commission's outsourcing agent for Indian visas, said the company is merely following the directive issued by the Indian authorities.
"I believe that the Indian High Commission had come up with the decision after making careful studies prior to getting the green light from the Indian government.
"Therefore, any plans to negotiate the new fees would be a G2G (government-to-government) affair," he said.
Alternatively, it is learnt that the Indian government has the e-visa option for Malaysian travellers which would cost US$50 (RM221.15) for 60 days.
The Indian High Commission could not be reached for comment at press time.
The latest development comes on the heels of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's recent announcement that would see Indian tourists paying only US$20 (RM88.50) as a processing fee for a 15-day visa to the country with no extra charges for the visa itself.
The announcement came as the government bids to increase the number of Indian tourists into the country.

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