India reopens for international tourism from Oct 15

NEW DELHI, 8 Oct 2021:

India yesterday announced that it would reopen its borders for foreign tourists arriving in the country on chartered flights from Oct 15, although the visitors hoping to travel on regular flights would have to wait until Nov 15.

“The ministry of home affairs has decided to begin granting of fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from 15 October 2021,” the authorities said in a press release.

“Foreign tourists entering into India by flights other than chartered aircraft would be able to do so only with effect from 15 November 2021 on fresh Tourist Visas.”

India had suspended all commercial passenger flights in the last week of March 2020, while announcing a total lockdown of the country to check the spread of the coronavirus.

Since then, the authorities have gradually eased restrictions – first allowing domestic passenger flights to operate and later establishing air bubbles with various countries.

Foreigners with business or work visa had already been allowed to enter India, but the ban on tourism had remained in effect due to the fear of infections.

After the country was struck by a virulent second wave of the pandemic in April-May this year – during which the health system collapsed and crematoriums ran out of space – the Covid-19 situation in India has improved significantly.

From daily caseloads of over 400,000 infections during the second wave’s peak, the number of cases per day now stands at around 20,000.

So far India has administered a total of 926 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, although just 256 million people have been fully inoculated, so that the target to immunise the entire adult population of around 950 million remains far off.