Canada issues travel advisory for India

The governments of UK, Australia and Canada have updated their travel advisories for India following the government’s announcement to ban currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations.

Typically, foreign tourist arrivals in India in November and December are the highest during the year. Of the more than 8 million foreign tourists who visited India last year, over 1.7 million arrived in November and December, according to data on the tourism ministry’s website.

In a travel alert updated on November 10, the UK government cautioned its citizens travelling to India. “If you’re exchanging money at a bank, take a form of photographic identification and expect long queues. New 500 and 2,000 rupee notes will be issued to replace the withdrawn notes. Until then, if you’re exchanging money don’t accept any denomination higher than 100 rupees…Arrangements have been made at international airports for arriving and departing passengers who have 500 or 1,000 rupee notes of not more than 5,000 rupees, to exchange them for new notes or other legal tender.”

The Canadian government, while continuing to maintain its risk levels on a high degree of caution for India, updated its laws and culture section. “Check with your bank to find out whether your debit and credit cards will work in India. Demonetised notes can be exchanged / deposited from November 10 to December 30 at banks, exchange offices or post office accounts.

Long lines are expected and it may take some time for ATMs to be supplied with smaller denominations and new notes. Banks and ATMs are also running out of cash daily. Do not accept bank notes that have been taken out of circulation. If you find yourself short of funds, seek establishments that will accept your foreign credit card or mobile wallet application (load with a local card only.)”

Rajeev Kohli, senior vice president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators and joint managing director for Creative Travel, said the association has made a presentation to the government to allow foreign tourists leaving the country to exchange their currency without a limit.

“We had also made a request to accept old currency at ASI monuments and national sites of interest as some of these tickets for tourists are quite expensive. They have accepted that request and have extended the deadline. But it has been a struggle as we had to approach different states. While some agreed, some were reluctant,” he said.

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