The home ministry announced on Thursday that it will begin granting tourist visas to foreigners wanting to come to India from November 15. Those coming on chartered flights will be granted permission from October 15.
This move is ostensibly aimed at boosting the economy through tourism, so the government has decided to lift the Covid barrier for international travellers by resuming the grant of tourist visas.
The ministry said all Covid-19 protocols and norms notified by the ministry of health & family welfare will have to be adhered to by foreign tourists and carriers and other stakeholders at landing stations.
Tour operators and travel service providers have welcomed the move to restart issuing of visas to foreign tourists and said the government should now allow resumption of regular scheduled commercial international flights.
India had suspended foreign tourist visas last March along with suspending scheduled domestic and international flights were resumed in a gradual manner since last May. Air bubbles have so far been formed with about 30 countries for air connectivity and certain categories of foreigners — except those on tourist visas — were increasingly allowed to come to India on them.
The centre on Thursday said the country’s Covid-19 graph was plateauing even though about 20,000 fresh cases were being reported every day. It said the challenge of Covid-19 was not over yet and warned people not to let their guard down during the festive season.