India Starts Handing Out Free SIM Cards To Tourists


Hindustan Times (h/t Mashable) reports officials are ready to implement a plan that would give tourists free SIM cards to use while they travel through the country.

The usual rigmarole that greets travelers hoping for SIM card when they arrive in New Delhi is whittled down to practically nothing.

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) see the move as simplifying travel in the area and enticing tourists.

Union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma is quoted as saying, “The initiative will help the tourists to immediately communicate with their relatives at home, hotels, tour operators and so on. I got this idea when I had got a similar card when I had visited Sri Lanka.”

Now the SIM card isn’t meant to be a calling card you can use for that two-week excursion with calls home every day.

It’s simply a welcoming hand from officials that allows tourists to get their bearings as they maneuver from the airport to the hotel and beyond.

With that in mind, the specifics illustrate that point nicely. Visitors will get a pre-paid SIM that has Rs 50 (about 75 cents) worth of time and 50 MB worth of data on it.

They will be made available to those visitors arriving on an e-visa into Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

However, the program is promised to grow out to include the addition of 15 other airports around the nation.

IATO senior vice president Rajeev Kohli states: “I think we are the first country to give free SIM cards to the tourists. It’s a great gesture and will make the arrival experience better for the travelers.”

Getting the card is rather simple. Once you get an authorization via email, part of the e-visa process, you bring that with you to the airport.

As you depart the plane, make your way to the India Tourism Development Corporation counter and present the authorization letter and you will get a welcome kit in return, along with it a SIM card for free.

It’s not an answer to every dilemma but a warm and welcomed gesture from a country eager to share its rich culture with the world.

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