India Allows Foreign Tourists To Enter From This Date: Check Full List Of Rules, Conditions
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will start issuing fresh tourist visas to foreigners coming to India through chartered flights from October 15.
An MHA official said that the government has decided to open up the economy further considering the ease in the Covid pressure.
The high number of vaccinations achieved thus far also led the way for the decision to be finalised.
However, it is still treading cautiously in order to avoid a sudden influx of tourists.
Therefore, it is starting with welcoming chartered flights which tourists can hire either themselves or through a travel company.
Later on, those arriving in India by flights other than chartered aircraft such as on “bubble flights” would be allowed entry from November 15.
Eventually, scheduled commercial flights will be allowed entry.
Back To Normal From 2022?
All foreign tourists must adhere to Covid-19 protocols and norms notified by the health ministry.
The tourism ministry expects the country to completely reopen by January next year, keeping in mind the constantly evolving Covid-19 situation.
The first 5 lakh tourists coming to India will receive e-tourist visas for free.
Flight Restrictions Continue
As of now, the restrictions on scheduled international commercial passenger flights have been extended to 31 October.
Flights operating on air bubble pacts with select countries remain in place.
International all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA are exempted.
Can’t Afford Complacence
The health ministry says that even if the number of cases seems to be plateauing, the challenge is not over yet.
Five states – Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Karnataka – have over 10,000 active Covid-19 cases at the moment.
Kerala alone has over 1 lakh active Covid-19 cases currently.
Travel operators have welcomed the decision to issue tourist visas and are now looking forward to resumption of normal international air travel, instead of the current air bubble arrangement.
They say that tourist visas don’t mean much if scheduled commercial international flights are not allowed.
Those coming in by chartered flights to India are low-yield, low-spending passengers and very small in numbers.
This could lead to losses as they miss out on over 50% of tourists looking to spend the winter in India between October to March, which is the peak season.
Ticket Prices Must Come Down
The existing air bubble arrangements are used for repatriation passengers or those travelling for urgent matters.
Tickets here are exorbitantly priced, something which tourists will shy away from.
Resumption of international flight operations will lead to normalisation of tourism flow due to lowering of ticket prices.
This is the need of the hour for the Indian tourism, travel and hospitality industry.