Reciprocal tourism might come to rescue for India

Published on : Saturday, September 25, 2021

With India aiming to restart tourist visas and allow international tourists after a gap of one-and-a-half years, “reciprocal tourism” might come to rescue, according to sources in the Ministry of Tourism.

While addressing the Global Covid Summit hosted by the US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi said, “We also need to focus on addressing the pandemic’s economic effects. To that end, international travel should be made easier through mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.”

The date and modalities for opening up of India to foreign tourists are being discussed by officials from the Union Home Ministry with all the stakeholders, including officials from the Ministry of Tourism, state governments and tour operators’ associations. There would be a formal announcement in a week’s time, according to an official from the Ministry of Tourism.

In order to restartthe tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors, the government has already announced that the first five lakh foreign tourists will get visas free of cost. The e-tourist visa was suspended since March 2020.

The free visa will be issued till March 31, 2022, or on a first-come-first-serve basis, whichever is earlier. Currently, India is witnessing a dip in Covid cases and a higher number of adults receiving the first dose. A few countries in Europe, along with the US, and tourist destinations like the Maldives and Sri Lanka have already opened their borders for vaccinated Indian travelers.

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