Buoyed by a record number of Indians visiting the US in 2011, the Obama Administration has exempted certain applicants from appearing in personal interviews by consular officer for their visas.
"In 2011, we welcomed over 6.6 lakh visitors from India -- which is a new record. India is now poised to leap into the top 10 and cross the one million mark in 2015. I am pleased to say that Obama Administration is taking more concrete actions to help more people to visit the United States," said Nancy Powell, the US Ambassador to India.
Recently, the US State department implemented a programme that would allow certain applicants to apply for visa without being interviewed in person by a US Consulate, she said, without specifying the category.
She was addressing function of three-day long travel and tourism exhibition of India -- South Asian Travel and Tourism Expo (SATTE), being held here from today.
The US envoy said that increase in travel of Indians to the US is indicative of not just of America's welcoming atmosphere, but also of strong relations between out two peoples.
"Travel and tourism to the US is an important way for us to expand our cultural and commercial ties and increase trade with countries. But most important aspect of travel and tourism is not dollar figures, but the person-to-person relationships that are cultivated," Powell said.
She also highlighted that the US was one of the top MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) destination of the world and said, "The US provides excellent convention locations, restaurants, shopping and travel options, tours unique offsite venues and others."
SATTE 2013, which is being held at Pragati Maidan from January 16 to 18, will witness participation of many major Indian and global players who see it as a platform to give momentum to their business from India.