New Delhi: The e-tourist visa scheme launched last year by the government has increased foreign tourist inflow in the country by almost 170,000 till August this year, registering a whopping 893 per cent growth over the previous year, a ministry of tourism report has stated.
The e-tourist visa facility has been made available in 113 countries, the ministry of tourism statement said.
This year, “During the period of January-August, a total of 1,69,976 tourists arrived on e-tourist visa, as compared to 17,120 during the same period last year, registering a growth of 892.9 per cent. During August alone, 22,286 tourists arrived as compared to 2,705 last year”, the report said.
While the US occupied the highest percentage (26.93 per cent) share of the total number of tourist arrivals, Germany (10.00 per cent), UAE (8.92 per cent), France (8.76 per cent) and Australia (7.20 per cent), accounted for the other leading numbers.
On the national scale, the percentage share of tourist arrival was highest for New Delhi (42.67 per cent), while Mumbai (23.40 percent) and Bengaluru (10.37 percent) also saw a healthy influx of foreign tourists.
In a major jolt to Facebook, several top-notch companies like Visa, Mastercard and EBay have pulled out of the Libra cryptocurrency project ahead of their first meeting in Geneva on October 14.
PayPal was the first to announce its withdrawal from the Libra Association — the 28-member non-profit organisation formed by the social networking giant for the global roll out of its digital currency Libra next year.
“Over the course of a few hours, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe and Mercado Pago all bailed on the project. That meant every major US payment processor has exited the association,” reports The Verge.
David Marcus, Libra project head at Facebook, tweeted: “I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update. Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up”.
“Special thanks to @Visa and @Mastercard for sticking it out until the 11th hour. The pressure has been intense (understatement), and I respect their decision to wait until there’s regulatory clarity for @Libra_ to proceed, vs. the invoked threats (by many) on their biz,” he added.
The pull out is to avoid the US regulators who are scrutinizing Facebook and its subsidiaries.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before the US House of Representatives on October 23 to discuss concerns over ‘Libra’ that has run into rough weather.
Zuckerberg will be grilled by lawmakers and regulators during the Q&A session at the US House Financial Services Committee.
In July, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the committee sent a letter to Facebook requesting an immediate moratorium on the implementation of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, Libra, and digital wallet, Calibra.
The US lawmakers have attacked Facebook on its Libra project, calling it “delusional” and “dangerous”.
According to a Visa spokesperson, the company “will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations”. (IANS)