Government officials in India are considering whether the country can reopen its doors to international tourists as countrywide cases of Covid-19 have largely remained secure over the last few weeks, according to people aware of the matter, who said the announcement may be made within the next 10 days.
The move to reopen is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Saturday that the government is planning to allow foreign tourists into Goa. “Tourism can resume in the coming tourism season just like before. We are planning to allow foreign tourists to come here… This will be possible when we give as much importance to corona precautions as much as we have given for vaccinations. It is our duty,” he mentioned. Senior officers of the Union house ministry are in discussions with stakeholders on the anticipated date to reopen the Indian economic system for tourism, amongst different components. Visas for foreign tourists have not been issued for the last one-and-a-half years, since the first outbreak of the infectious disease in the country. Discussions are also on to waive off visa costs for the first 500,000 foreign tourists who apply. The free visa scheme will be applicable till March 31, 2022, or before if the 500,000-mark is crossed first.
The total financial implication for this would be ₹100 crore, one of the ministry officials said. the central government was taking steps to “welcome foreign tourists back”. This will help revive the tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors that have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020, when the first nationwide lockdown was announced, the official said.