India will finally reopen to international tourists on October 15th after 19 months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
India will begin granting fresh tourist visas to foreigners visiting India through chartered flights starting on October 15th. The chartered flights will be “bubble” flights. However, foreign tourists will be able to enter via commercial flights on November 15th.
The government stated in their press release that “All due protocols and norms relating to Covid-19 as notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time, shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations.”
A home ministry official stated in The Indian Express, “The COVID pressure has eased up considerably, and so the government has decided to open up the economy further. However, we are taking one step at a time as we do not want an influx of tourists suddenly.”
“So, initially chartered flights are being allowed. Tourists can together themselves or through a travel company, and hire a chartered flight to visit India. Regular tourist operations will begin only from November 15.”
The Indian government was receiving appeals from several state governments and tourism industry stakeholders to restart tourism visas. The government has been considering reopening for a month now because of the ongoing suffering for the hotel and tourism industry in India.
The CDC suggests India has a moderate level of COVID-19, suggesting all U.S travelers should be fully vaccinated before entering the nation.
The Entry Requirements
Travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival regardless of vaccination status according to the U.S Embassy and Consulates in India. All international tourists must submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours before arriving in India.
The COVID-19 Situation In India
India grabbed the attention of the world’s media when COVID-19 cases peaked at a 7-day average of around 400,000 cases per day. The current 7-day average is 20,607 cases, and that’s a significant drop from the massive outbreak that the Delta variant caused in April 2021.
India has fully vaccinated around 18.8 percent of its entire population since the vaccine rollout started. India has also given one vaccination dose to 48.9 percent of its population.
The Current Restrictions Within India
According to the U.S Embassy in India, the nation has largely reopened its bars and restaurants with a limited capacity and reduced opening hours. What’s more, retail stores are likely to have a reduced capacity and limited opening hours.
Most parts of India do not allow large gatherings, and local areas may still implement random PCR testing, local lockdowns, night curfews, proof of negative PCR tests, and mandatory quarantine when entering areas from certain Indian states.
Travelers will have to wear face masks in the vast majority of the nation. That includes urban areas, indoor areas, and public transportation.
The U.S Embassy suggests the Indian authorities strictly enforce the face mask mandate, and failure to comply “reflects poorly on foreign residents and is likely to result in a fine.”
Due to the sheer size of India, restrictions depend on where you’re visiting within the country and may change at short notice depending on the number of cases.
India is among various Asian nations to begin reopening to foreign tourists. The following nations have also begun their reopening plans:
The vast majority of the far-east has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but Asia is finally starting to reopen.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories