New Delhi:  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed a press conference on Monday, and announced a slew of economic relief measures to help all those sectors badly hit by the deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.Also Read - Advance Action Underway On Privatisation Of 2 State-Owned Banks: Govt

In a bid to boost the travel and tourism sector, which got severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance Minister announced that the central government will issue free tourist visa for 5 lakh tourists. Also Read - Timing Of RBI Rate Hike Was Surprising: Sitharaman

During the briefing, the ministry of finance presentation said that 10.93 million foreign tourists visited Indian in 2019, and spent USD 30.098 billion on leisure and business. Also Read - Budget 2022: Fintech Sector Seeks Lesser Taxes, Easy Credit Access

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Average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days while average daily spending is around USD 34 (Rs 2400). “Once visa issuance is restarted, the first five lakh Tourists Visas will be issued free of charge,” the Finance Minister said.

Benefit will be available only once per tourist. The scheme will be applicable till 31st march,2022 or till 5 lakh visas are issued, whichever is earlier. Total financial implication is expected to be Rs 100 crore.

Meanwhile the Centre has also announced financial support to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides/travel and tourism stakeholders. Working capital/personal loans will be provided with a 100 per cent guarantee to people in tourism sector. “No processing charges, waiver of prepayment charges,” the ministry said.