Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Government eases restrictions for Bangladeshi nationals at 24 airports incl Bagdogra to boost tourism

India has removed travel restrictions for Bangladeshi nationals at 24 airports, a move seen boosting tourism and people-to-people contact.
Earlier, visitors from Bangladesh could enter and exit India only through a few airports.
Under the revised guidelines issued by the Indian High Commission at Dhaka on Monday, Bangladesh nationals can now use the airports at Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Dabolim (Goa), Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Amritsar, Trichy, Trivandrum, Bagdogra and
Chandigarh, besides the integrated check posts at Haridaspur and Gede, without seeking prior permission.
Bagdogra in West Bengal has also been opened to Bangladeshi nationals, though it has not yet formally been declared an international airport.
S Sanyal, president of Eastern Himalayan Tour and Travel Operators Association, said, “It was a long-pending demand of Bangladesh as well as all here engaged in the travel sector.”
Travel consultant R Basu said, “People from Bangladesh visit India mainly for three purposes—medical, education and shopping, but with similar culture and social pattern like the Bengalis in India, they also love leisure travelling and contribute a good share to South Asian region’s tourism business. India remained highly deprived of that as entry to them was restricted.”
According to tour operators, an estimated 200,000 visitors from Bangladesh visit eastern India every year.
Sanyal, however, said more steps are needed. “Besides withdrawal of the official restrictions, we need new air services, too, to connect Bangladesh airports with multiple Indian airports to churn true benefit out of the development,” he said.
By Debasis Sarkar, ET Bureau