With the travel industry being a major driving force in many countries’ economies, it's only natural for nations to ramp up their efforts to welcome more visitors. While airlines are doing their bit by expanding networks, these countries are doing their part by relaxing visa entry requirements for travellers.
USA AND CHINA
ELIGIBLITY US and Chinese citizens
VISA INFO The validity period of student visas has now been increased to five years, while business and tourist visas have been extended to a full decade. This applies for both Chinese citizens visiting the US and vice versa.
BENEFITS Travellers from both countries will no longer need to renew their visas on an annual basis. According to a statement by the White House, Chinese visitors in the US are predicted to contribute nearly US$85 billion to the local economy by 2021, and contribute up to 440,000 jobs. In addition, the plans are part of the US’ desire to improve economic and bilateral ties with China.
ELIGIBILITY Citizens from USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, UAE, South Korea and Japan
VISA INFO The entry policy allows visitors from the aforementioned ten countries to enter Kazakhstan visa-free for up to 15 calendar days. The visa exemptions will be in place from July 15, 2014 to July 15, 2015.
BENEFITS The ten countries selected for the one-year visa-free program have either invested significantly in Kazakhstan, or have planned considerable investments. Furthermore, the visa exemption is designed to help boost tourism in Kazakhstan, as well as to facilitate businessmen and investors who wish to enter and depart the country freely.
ELIGIBILITY Select Indian nationals that hold machine-readable passports; have travelled to Japan in the last three years, with no records of violations of the laws and regulations of the country from their visits; and have submitted their tax returns and bank statements, along with a certificate of employment and a letter detailing why they wish to apply for the visa.
VISA INFO Multiple entry visas into Japan can now be applied by eligible Indian nationals who can enjoy stays up to 15 days and a validity set at three years.
BENEFITS Specifically targeted at Indian visitors entering Japan for business and tourism purposes, the benefits afforded by the multiple entry visa means that they will now longer need to register for one every time they visit the country – a move that will be welcomed by Indian travellers who frequently visit Japan.
ELIGIBILITY Australian nationals
VISA INFO A visa on arrival will be provided for Australian tourists who visit India, according to the country’s prime minister Narendra Modi earlier this week during a visit in Sydney.
BENEFITS Little information exists at this point in time, but having visa on arrival privileges will benefit Australians who are required to visit an application centre near their jurisdiction in order to submit their applications. A lengthy wait would follow before a final decision is made. Upon successful application, Australians would then have to visit the centre once more in order to collect their visas.