Government AffairsTravel trade sees ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

Welcome back: Tourists return to India after 19 months

India is welcoming tourists again after a long break.
India is welcoming tourists again after a long break.

On 15 October, tourist visas were granted to travellers arriving on chartered flights and the facility will be extended to those arriving on commercial flights from 15 November.

Foreign tourists who landed in India last Friday were the first to come into the country in 19 months.

Rajeev Kohli, joint managing director, Creative Travel India, welcomed the relaxation of travel restrictions which comes as India’s Covid-19 infections drop, with more than 70% of the population receiving one dose of the vaccine.

“Like everywhere in the world, the pandemic hit the Indian tourism industry very hard. The loss of jobs has been extensive, and most will never come back,” said Kohli.

“We really feel for our people and wish we, as business owners, could do more. We are, therefore, super excited to have a date for reopening of our borders to tourists.

“After 19 months of not being allowed to operate, we now have the opportunity to take our fate in our hands.

“There are still some protocols we need to be told but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is a great feeling. It’s a huge morale booster, something that was badly needed for tourism stakeholders.”

India attracted just 2.74 million foreign tourists last year — down from 10.93 million in 2019.

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