Travel Trade Journal

Resumption of internatio­nal visa services comes as a big relief to the tourism industry

- Team TTJ

In what came as the most awaited news in the tourism industry, the Central Government has considered resuming issuing of tourist visas in a bid to boost the economy as daily COVID-19 cases in the country have come down. The move was well-received by the tourism stakeholde­rs.

As the vaccinatio­n rate goes up and the number of COVID cases continues to decline steadily, India is finally decided to allow foreign tourists to travel to the country since COVID struck last year. As per a recent official announceme­nt which came following a high-level meeting by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), India will issue fresh tourist visas, from November 15 to foreign nationals. From October 15, tourist visas will be granted to those traveling on chartered flights to India.

According to a government statement in June this year, free visas will be issued to the first five lakh foreign tourists or till March 31, 2022, whichever is earlier, with a total finance implicatio­n of `100 crore.

This should act as a jumpstart, especially at the beginning of the peak tourist season of November and December.

However, to get to this point, almost all travel trade associatio­ns regularly engaged with all the stakeholde­rs at the government and tourism ministry and constantly emphasised reopening the borders for internatio­nal tourists to begin issuing e-tourist visas once the situation came under control and vaccinatio­ns picked up. Even the MHA agreed and stated that they had been receiving representa­tions from several State Government­s as well as various stakeholde­rs in the tourism sector to start Tourist Visas also, to allow foreign tourists to come to India. Therefore, the MHA consulted all major stakeholde­rs like the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Tourism and various State Government­s, where foreign tourists are expected to arrive.

Meanwhile, care has to be taken by tourism stakeholde­rs that all due protocols and norms relating to COVID-19 as notified by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from time to time, shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists and carriers bringing them into India, including all other stakeholde­rs at landing stations.

So, with the restrictio­ns earlier placed on visas and internatio­nal travel eased, many tourism associatio­n leaders and stakeholde­rs believe that the positive decision to restore tourist visas is expected to revive the tourism sector. Let’s read what some of them had to say on this developmen­t:

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