India to grant tourist visas from Oct 15

India to grant tourist visas from October 15

The decision came 18 months after it shut doors for foreign tourists due to Covid-19 outbreak in March last year

Representative image: iStock Photo

India on Thursday announced re-starting international tourism by offering tourist visas from October 15 for travellers arriving on chartered flights.

The decision came 18 months after it shut doors for foreign tourists due to the Covid-19 outbreak in March last year.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that tourist visas for those arriving in India by flights “other than chartered aircraft” would be available from November 15.

“After considering various inputs, the MHA has decided to begin granting of fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15, 2021,” an official statement said.

Read: 'Please watch your Oct, Nov, Dec,' Govt warns people of Covid surge during festival, wedding season

The tourist season begins in India with the onset of winter as travellers land in huge numbers at the sylvan beaches in the country, particularly Goa.

“All due protocols and norms relating to Covid-19 as notified by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from time to time shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations,” the MHA statement said.

The restrictions placed on visa and international travel since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic stand further eased given the present overall pandemic situation, it said.

In a bid to boost tourism, the government had already announced to provide five lakh tourist visas free-of-cost to those visiting Indian shores before March 31, 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the government had given a special thrust on Covid-19 vaccination in tourism-dependent states such as Goa and Uttarakhand with a view to re-start tourist activities.

 

Tourism destinations such as Lakshadweep, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar and Sikkim have vaccinated 100% of their population with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, which could help address the health concerns of tourists.

Travel operators have welcomed the decision to issue tourist visas and have now pinned hope on resumption of normal international air travel, instead of the current air bubble arrangement.

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