India set to reopen for foreign travellers from 15 October

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India will reopen to tourism from October 15, the government said, after more than a year of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign nationals will be able to apply for a visa for the first time since March 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a strict lockdown in response to the pandemic.

“After considering various inputs, the MHA (home ministry) has decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from 15 October, 2021,” the home ministry said in a statement on 7 October.

It added that foreigners traveling to India via commercial flights will be able to enter on fresh tourist visas starting November 15, 2021. The home ministry has said all COVID-19 protocols “should be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations”.

India witnessed 10.93 million tourist arrivals in 2019. Restrictions on most categories of foreign visas, such as diplomats and businesspeople, had earlier been lifted but tourists remained barred even as most economic activities resumed.