India has decided to allow foreign tourists into the country, beginning with granting tourist visas to those travelling by chartered flights from 15 October and those by regular planes from 15 November.
The move comes a year and a half after grant of tourist visas was suspended in the wake of Covid pandemic.
The ministry said in a statement that the decision was taken following consultations with stakeholders like the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Tourism and state .
However, the Home Ministry had been receiving representations from several state governments as well as various stakeholders in the tourism sector to start tourist visas also to allow foreign tourists to come to India.
The government’s move to resume tourist visas will come a big boost to for all stakeholders of the struggling travel industry — airlines, hotels, tour operators and those linked directly and indirectly with it.
Travel has been among the worst victims of the pandemic. The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), an apex body of Indian tourism industry, had this March — just before the second wave — warned that almost 70% of the country’s estimated workforce of 5.5 crores (direct and indirect jobs) of the sector could get unemployed — about 3.8 crore people — as an impact of the coronavirus pandemic.