A planned visit by Indian Minister of Tourism, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja, to address South African aviation and tourism industry representatives at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg last Wednesday evening was rescued at the last minute by Indian Consul-General Vikram Doraiswami and Sanjay Kothari, Additional Secretary from the Ministry.
Selja missed her connecting flight from Dubai due to delays. More flights between India and South Africa and quicker visas for visits to India came under discussion after Kothari highlighted the many attractions that India has to offer tourists.
These ranged from winter wonderlands and game parks to world-class medical treatment at a fraction of the cost in the west.
The Indian representatives confirmed that Jet Airways would offer daily flights between Johannesburg and Mumbai as soon as formalities were concluded, hopefully by mid-April.
Kothari said tourists from several western countries were getting visas on arrival, to promote tourism.
Doraiswami added his office had been successful in its objective of a three-day turn-around time on visa applications, and they were looking at ways of speeding this up even further.
Indian national Kalpana Rangan, who has been living in South Africa for several years, lamented the fact that while India was pushing its beautiful tourist attractions to the world, it was still unable to provide the kind of clean toilet facilities that abounded in South Africa at tourist attractions and filling stations on all routes.
Kothari promised to look into it.
Source: Independent Newspapers (UK) Limited, 20100303
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