The Indian tourism industry is expected to receive many more British tourists following New Delhi´s decision to scrap the surcharge on holiday-makers and encourage charter flights.
This will bring down the cost of a holiday in India by hundreds of pounds, trade analysts say.
One tour operator predicted that prices would fall by an average of ?200 ($369) per person and in some cases by as much as ?600 ($1,109). The reductions mainly apply to holidays that include charter flights.
Previously, India required charter passengers to spend up to $350 on hotels and services during their stay, adding about ?200 ($369) to package prices.
The introduction of several charter flights from Britain to key Indian cities next winter is expected to increase the choice of holidays and lower the prices further.
Budget travellers and backpackers, who were particularly hard hit, have the most to gain.
A spokesman for the Taj Group of Hotels, which has 45 properties across the subcontinent, said that changes would transform India´s tourist industry by introducing competition.
Subhash Thaker, Vice-president of Sales and Marketing in Taj Group of Hotels predicted that this would lead to lower prices for charter services and scheduled airlines such as Air-India. This is the biggest development in Indian tourism, he added. The time has come for us, and this will be the decade of India.
The India Tourist Office here welcomed the changes, saying that they would give an important boost to the country tourism.
Said Vivek Angra, an Indian official for Britain and Ireland: “It is a very significant development since we previously had problems with flight availability and prices. This will open up the country and make prices comparable with other destinations.”
Several tour operators, including Somak Holidays, Kuoni and Travel-pack, are planning to add charter flights from Gatwick to New Delhi and to Ahmedabad in Gujarat.