The Indian government will be issuing tourist visas once again from October 15, eighteen months after suspending them because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Govt. of India, said in a statement.
Initially, for a month, the tourists will be issued visas only for travel in chartered flights. From November 15, tourists could travel via non-chartered flights, particularly those run as part of Vande Bharat Mission or under ‘air bubble’ arrangements with different countries, MHA said.
Welcoming the move, Rajiv Mehra, President Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), said that this is a very encouraging for the tourism industry and we hope the inbound tourism would start to some extent and will give sigh of relief to the tourism industry stakeholders.
Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) also welcomed the MHA’s decision to re-start tourist visa for foreign travellers coming to India on chartered flights from October 15th.
Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, said: “We hope commercial flights will start beyond air bubbles effective 15th November to facilitate seamless travel.” She added that the government has decided to opt for 'reciprocal treatment' to the applicants under new visa conditions.
Dipak Deva, Managing Director, Travel Corporation of India, said: “We heartily welcome the government’s announcement on the restart of tourist visa issuance by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for international guests travelling to India starting October 15, 2021 (charter flights) and from November 15, 2021 for regular commercial flights. This coupled with the earlier announcement of free visas for the first 5 Lakh inbound tourists, is a critical move that will give fillip and accelerate a much-needed revival of inbound tourism.”