New Delhi: Easing visa norms for Indian tourists, France on Thursday announced issuance of visas in 48 hours and launching of eight more centres across the country to cater to the growing number of Indians visiting the country.
The French embassy here also launched a mobile application 'Chalo Paris', to help travellers move around their capital.
French Ambassador to India, Francois Richer, said the move was promoted because of the growing number of Indians travelling to France.
"We is committed to strengthening connectivity between France and India at all levels. Removing barriers and hurdles is our core objective," Richier said.
France currently has five centres in India - Delhi (the embassy), Pondicherry, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai - that issue visas. All these centres will start issuing visas in 48 hours from December 1.
The Embassy has decided to open new visa application centres in Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Pune, Goa, Ahemdabad, Kochi, Hyderabad and Jaipur which will be operational from December 1.
"Opening of these centres indicate the number of people from these cities travelling to France. These centres will make a big difference as tourists do not have to come to centres which are far from their cities. Visas from these centres will be issued in 72 hours," the Ambassador said.
The number of visas delivered by French Consulates in India has jumped by 33 per cent in 2014 as compared to 2013, with a total of 80,000 visas delivered from January to October. By the end of the year, the Embassy expects the figure to cross 90,000.
Around 3.5 lakh Indians visit France annually, but this constitutes only 0.23 per cent of the total foreign tourists visitng France.
The Embassy also launched an India specific mobile application "Chalo Paris" that will cater to tourists in Paris and give necessary information like restaurants, shopping areas and regions like Normandy, the Loire Valley, Mont Saint Michel, Bordeaux, which are easily accessible from Paris.