Putin says Russia is in a fight for the existence of the state

Putin says Russia is in a fight for the existence of the state
Putin says Russia is in a fight for the existence of the state

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - NEW DELHI: India is hoping to boost people-to-people interactions with Saudi Arabia, the country’s ambassador in Riyadh said on Tuesday, as the country resumed electronic visa services for visitors from the Kingdom.

The e-visa facility for Saudi nationals was restored last week, after being suspended for all countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will boost people-to-people interactions, travel for businesses, tourism,” Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan, India’s ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“It’s a positive step in line with our overall friendly relations and strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia.”

The e-visa service for Saudi nationals was only launched in 2019 before the pandemic.

India’s latest move to ease the immigration process for Saudi travelers, which covers visas for tourism, business, medical and conferences, was welcomed by tourism players in the country.

“India and Saudi Arabia are deepening their bonds, and I feel the easier it becomes to reach each other’s countries, the better it would be to boost tourism and business,” Abhishek Sharma, who runs a travel agency in the city of Agra where the Taj Mahal monument is located, told Arab News.

“India is also known for medical tourism and the restoration of e-medical (visa) facilities can help in the growth of the tourism industry,” said Sharma.

Jyoti Mayal, president of the Travel Agents Association of India, said the decision “will mean a huge success for inbound tourists.

“The ease of getting a visa will ensure more tourists in the most important categories of tourism including leisure, medical, business and conferences,” Mayal told Arab News.

“This decision will not only increase business for the Indian tourism industry but will also help Indians to travel to Saudi,” she said. “Business needs to increase from both sides and that’s the best environment to grow in tourism. Saudi has been trying to woo tourists for some time now and this is the best way to have tourists as ambassadors of each other’s country.”

Saudi officials have also been promoting the Kingdom as a leading destination for Indian visitors, as the South Asian country has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s key tourism source market and is expected to become the largest one by 2030.

The Saudi Tourism Authority conducted a roadshow and participated in a series of travel and trade events across India in February, and said it was opening up dedicated visa centers in India to improve accessibility for Indian travelers to enter the Kingdom.

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