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India More Affordable Thanks to Government Changes

Woman in red sari at the Taj Mahal

There have been a few recent announcements in India that will hopefully result in increased travel to the country of curry and cows.

As of Oct 1, 2019, India announced a significant drop in hotel taxes. Normally, talk of increasing or decreasing government taxes hardly makes the news, but in the case of India, the huge fluctuations have had some massive impacts on the price North Americans pay to travel to India.

The taxes introduced back in 2017 left a lot of tour operators scratching their heads. Tax band increases that seemingly came out of nowhere were difficult to explain, obviously impacted the overall costs of tour packages, and ultimately led to a decrease in travel to India. And most heavily hit were the 4- and 5-star properties that make up 80% of Goway’s product portfolio.

  • 18% on rates of under INR 7,500 (less than ~USD 106)
  • 28% on rates of over INR 7,500 (more than ~USD 106)
Spices at a traditional street market in Delhi

No matter how you slice it, 28% is a fair amount to add to overall travel costs. But someone somewhere must have raised a stink and only two years later, the outrageous tax increase has been revoked. Sure, the product team at Goway has once again had to drop everything and scramble to readjust pricing, but we’re happy to do so if it means travel to India will become more attractive again.

The new tax rates post Oct 1, 2019:

  • 0% on rates of under INR 1,000 (less than ~USD 14)
  • 12% on rates between INR 1,000 and INR 7,500 (~USD 14 to ~USD106)
  • 18% on rates of over INR 7,500 (more than ~USD 106)

That’s a 10% price drop, which will result in notable savings.

And that’s not the only positive news story. If you’ve ever tried to apply for an Indian visa, you’ll empathize with how painful the experience can be. While you can at least apply for a visa online these days, it’s not without frustration. The online process can be a bit tricky to navigate, but what’s more maddening is that you are never really sure if you are applying on the right “official” site because every India e-visa website refers to itself as “The Official India Government Visa Website.” Apply through one of these third-party sites and expect to get hit by heavy service fees.

City Palace, Jaipur

So for the record, you can find the official Indian Government e-visa site here

As of some time in August, e-visa fees went from a straight USD 80 up from USD 50 in June of last year to now as low as USD 10 in low season.

One month e-visa fee (30 days):         

  • USD 10 (from April to June)
  • USD 20 (from July to March)

A one year e-tourist visa is USD 40.

A five-year e-tourist visa is USD 80.

Now if someone could just introduce airfares to India for under $1,000, there would be no reason not to vacation in India several times a year, but we’ll take all of these price-cutting updates for the time being.

To celebrate the lower fares, Goway has introduced some value-added luxury showcasing one of India’s most loved hotel brands, Oberoi. For a limited time, not only has the reduction in taxes made staying in India in 6-star opulence affordable, but Goway and Oberoi wanted to further celebrate by offering some incredible extras that your clients are going to love.

Valued at USD 550 per person, clients can choose either one additional fine dining meal either at lunch or dinner each day or private yoga classes on the 8-Day Luxury India Tour. Now that is amazing.


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