Pakistan announces e-visa facility for 175 nations, visa-on-arrival for 50 countries

Published: January 25, 2019
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ISLAMABAD: The government announced on Friday that it is easing travel restrictions in the hope of reviving tourism by offering visas
on arrival to visitors from 50 countries and electronic visas to
175 nationalities.

The reforms, approved by the cabinet, would open up a new
era for the tourism industry, which was devastated by terrorist
violence after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the United States,
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said.

“We have mountain tourism, we have beach tourism,” he told reporters in Islamabad, referring to Himalayan peaks and Arabian Sea beaches seldom visited by foreigners.

“Pakistan is a heaven for tourists.” the minister did not identify the countries that would benefit from the new rules but in December, he told Reuters that citizens of most European countries would be granted a visa on arrival.

Tourists would also be allowed to visit the politically sensitive Himalayan region of Kashmir and other northern areas, which now require special permission. The new rules would also ease travel restrictions on foreign journalists, Fawad Chaudhry said.

The new visa regime comes after some countries eased travel
advisories on Pakistan in light of improvements in security.

Pakistan was last a prominent tourist destination in the 1970s when the “hippie trail” brought Western travellers through the apricot and walnut orchards of the Swat Valley and Kashmir on their way to India and Nepal.

Since then, deteriorating security and the imposition of a
harsh interpretation of Islamic laws has chipped away at the
number of visitors. But security has since improved dramatically in recent years, with terrorist attacks down sharply in the
country of 208 million people.

The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation said last
year tourist arrivals rose to 1.75 million in 2017, media reported.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Mohsin
    Jan 25, 2019 - 5:21PM

    Where we can find list of these countries?Recommend

  • Abdul Qureshi
    Jan 25, 2019 - 5:22PM

    Very Good Derision.Recommend

  • Nawaz
    Jan 25, 2019 - 5:29PM

    Good initiative Recommend

  • Hamza
    Jan 25, 2019 - 7:02PM

    amazing decision by pakistan. Imran khan making great decisions since coming to powerRecommend

  • MS
    Jan 25, 2019 - 10:26PM

    Now our bureaucracy will make mockery of Evisa. Recommend

  • Sayed Adnan Sohail
    Jan 25, 2019 - 10:56PM

    The ‘Visa on Arrival’ facility should be on reciprocal basis. Recommend

  • largo
    Jan 25, 2019 - 11:09PM

    deteriorating security and the imposition of a
    harsh interpretation of Islamic laws has chipped away at the
    number of visitors.

    Chipped away? What a politically correct understatement. The fact is our tourism is down to a trickle and denying it helps nobody. Recommend

  • Sohail
    Jan 26, 2019 - 6:58AM

    @Sayed Adnan Sohail:
    Should be but…Recommend

  • Maura Hakeem
    Jan 26, 2019 - 8:18AM

    Hopefully that will allow for much much greater competition within our hotel industry. There are basically 1 or 2 names which have cornered the market for the last 30+ years charging outrageous prices. Recommend

  • jawad chaudhry
    Jan 26, 2019 - 8:18AM

    superb initiative. the trickle down effect will be massive. New hotels, foreign airlines, tour operators, renovation of historic sites, increased revenue and employment, One must though realize that foreign tourists may enjoy during daytime looking at the scenery but they always like to socialize in bars. five star hotels should have bar facilities for non muslims. Recommend

  • FAZAL Hussain
    Jan 26, 2019 - 9:27AM

    Very good decision. Hopefully touring visitors will hv threat freeto visits not like Murree.Recommend

  • Ch. KA Nye
    Jan 26, 2019 - 12:21PM

    @largo:
    I concur. And the PTDC figure of 1.75 million includes business visitors, repeat business visitors and Pakistan origin foreign nationals who visited their homeland.

    A genuine tourist is one who visits a country for a holiday. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jan 26, 2019 - 12:42PM

    Indian and Afghan agents deliberately target foreigners to malign Pakistan.Recommend

  • Iqbal khan
    Jan 26, 2019 - 1:20PM

    Do indian can get visa too? Recommend

  • Saju
    Jan 26, 2019 - 7:41PM

    Which are the 175 countries who can avail on arrival visa, is India included cause the PM Imran Khan wanted to have a good relation with India, Hope we will get too, I love Pakistan and the people who and where we are working together with good relation.Recommend

  • Zaw Min
    Jan 28, 2019 - 9:52AM

    Assalam o alaikum. Is there any list of countries who can get evisa or visa on arrival ?Recommend

  • Marcus Versace
    Jan 30, 2019 - 3:47AM

    Hi I Have travelled the world extensively been to Pakistan four times and immediately recognised the high calibre of the historical sites and vista’s that millions of tourist will pay big money for accommodation, food services and tours – Pakistan can gain Billions of foreign currency per year from this one type of industry – Tourism – The pakistan government must ensure to publicise the societies do’s and don’t do – so tourist do not offend the local customs -Marcus from Australia Recommend

  • Felix Fernebring
    Jan 31, 2019 - 8:50PM

    When will these new rules start to apply? Or when will the e-visa and visa on arrivals start to be available?

    Have the new regulations already started?Recommend

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