Both Qatar and Singapore have launched a new programme allowing a visa free transit stay over of 96 hours for Indians and other nationalities. Under the arrangements for Singapore Indians who hold a visa or long-term pass of one month or longer issued from a list of countries can take advantage of a four day stop over in Singapore without having to pay for a Singapore visa. The countries listed include Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States. The passengers travelling through Singapore who want to take advantage of this offer must hold a valid airline ticket showing exit of the country within 96 hours and there is no allowance for extending the stay. Meanwhile a similar arrangement with Qatar, effective from 1st November allows passengers of any nationality holding a valid airline ticket with a minimum five hour stop over the option to obtain a complementary 96 hour temporary visa. The outward ticket however must be held by a Qatar Airways operated flight. It is hope that these free transit visas will encourage passengers of all nationalities to take advantage of an extended stop over in these two countries and boost tourism. News from Qatar Airways also reports that the airline is restructuring their prices to encourage passengers to take advantage of the new arrangements. For a long while Qatar and their national carrier have struggled to compete with their regional partners, such as Emirates and Etihad which have been promoting stop overs in the U.A.E. with notable success for some time now. It is hoped that the new visa free stay will long haul travellers to Qatar, a spokesman for Qatar Airways said: “Whether travelling for business or leisure, we want to enrich the journey of all of our passengers and are restructuring our fares to reflect this initiative and to promote stopovers to travellers.”
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