India is planning to begin with ‘reciprocal tourism’ as the country is looking forward to restarting the tourist visas and allow international tourists after a gap of one-and-a-half years. The announcement is likely in two weeks.
According to an official at the Tourism Ministry, the date, and modalities for opening up of the country to foreign tourists are being discussed by officials with various stakeholders in Ministries like Home, Health and Foreign, and also discussions are ongoing with state Governments, tour operators’ associations and Hotelier Associations.
“It will be like the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates,” said the official at the Tourism Ministry.
“Deliberations are on — when to open, how to open, and for whom. Keeping in view low infection rate in the country and vaccination status, the calibrated opening is being contemplated,” the official added.
Earlier on September 22, PM Modi while addressing the Global Covid Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, 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.”
Indian Government has already announced that the visas will be issued free of cost for the first five lakh foreign tourists. This is an attempt to revive the tourism, hospitality, and aviation sectors. The e-tourist visa has been suspended since March 2020.
“It will be the first-come-first-serve basis and the free visa will be issued only till March 31, 2022, whichever is earlier” the official further added.