Published on : Saturday, October 9, 2021
India will start issuing tourist visas to foreigners visiting India in chartered flights from October 15, said the Union home ministry.
Foreigner tourists will also be allowed to visit in non-charters — which are flights under bubble arrangements flights from November 15 unless all planned restrictions on scheduled flights are considerably lifted.
As of now, scheduled international flights are suspended till the end of this month.
India suspended foreign tourist visas last March along with scheduled domestic and international flights. Scheduled domestic flights were restarted in a gradual manner since last May. So far, air bubbles have been created with about 30 countries for air connectivity and certain categories of foreigners — except those on tourist visas.
The government’s move to resume tourist visas will indeed be a big lift for all stakeholders of the struggling travel industry — airlines, hotels, tour operators and those linked directly and indirectly with it.
Earlier in June, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced issuing the first 5 lakh tourist visas once India allows entry to this group of visitors, and theywould be issued free of charge.
“The average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days and their average daily spending per tourist is about $34 (Rs 2,400). Once (tourism) visa issuance resumes, the first 5 lakh tourists visas will be issued free of charge,” said Sitharaman.
Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FAITH) chairman NakulAnand said, “We look forward to a healthy start to inbound tourism and given no third wave hope all countries encourage visitation.”