After twenty months of closure due to the coronavirus epidemic, India reopened its borders a little more on Monday to foreign tourists from countries with reciprocity. However, tour operators assume that demand will remain very low due to ticket prices and the restrictions that still exist for travelers from the European Union, Great Britain, China and other countries.
Famous for its Taj Mahal, desert palaces and tiger reserves, the country closed its doors to foreign tourists in March 2020. But after a devastating peak in the spring, the number of contaminations fell sharply and the government, under pressure from the control sector, the economy, announced an easing last month. On October 15, tourist visas were issued to fully vaccinated foreigners arriving on charter flights from countries that offer reciprocity. This opening was extended to commercial flights on Monday. Visitors from eligible countries can apply for a tourist visa online and need to monitor their health status just fifteen days after arrival.
Return to normal in October 2022
However, travelers from the European Union, UK, China, Brazil, South Africa and other countries are subject to different measures, including Covid testing on arrival. The first half a million visas were also free. Rajeev Mehra, President of India’s Tour Operators Association, estimates arrivals in the first month will be just 5% of pre-pandemic levels.
“We get inquiries and send them offers, but when they see the high airfares they tell us that they will try to come later,” said Rajeev Mehra. If things remain stable around the world, we expect a full recovery in the October 2022 season.
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