Covid-19 cases down, India to issue tourist visas from October 15
India reopen for foreign tourists from October 15 after being closed for more than one-and-a-half years. After India suspended tourist visas in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020; the government of India has announced its decision to start issuing tourist visas from October 15, 2021, although tourists can only come on chartered flights till November 15. And after that, they can come on “bubble flights” or scheduled commercial flights.
According to MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs), they have decided to begin granting fresh tourist visas for foreigners coming to India after considering various inputs. They also stated that all foreign tourists have to adhere to all due protocols and norms relating to Covid-19 as notified by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from time to time.
As per an MHA official, “ The Covid pressure has eased up considerably, so the government has decided to open up the economy further” He also stated that government is still precautious and taking one step at a time to avoid the influx of tourists suddenly. In starting phase, chartered flights will be allowed. Tourists can together in a group, or through a travel company, hire a chartered flight to visit India. Regular tourist operations will begin only from November 15, but first on bubble flights and later commercial flights will be opened.
The decision, it is learned, was under deliberation for over a month and the Tourism Ministry had been pushing for opening up of tourist visas, as the tourism and hotel sector had suffered the most during the pandemic. The high number of vaccinations achieved over the last couple of months, and the significantly low number of infections being reported from large parts of the country, also helped in this decision.
As per Tourism Ministry, there can be a phase-wise reopening of tourist visas for various countries. The chartered flights can be observed and monitored closely. So they are starting with that. After a month, India can be open to commercial International flights. But it will all depend on how things go once people start coming in.
Depending on the Covid-19 situation, the tourism ministry expects a complete reopening by January next year, officials said. For the first 0.5 million tourists coming in, e-tourist visas will be given free of cost.
As of October 6, there were 22,431 new cases of coronavirus infections in the country.
You can read further about this news on Indian Express.
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