The Union home ministry is set to review its decision to suspend tourist visas given the downward trend in Covid cases in India, with active cases falling to 3.36 lakh as of September 15.
A meeting may be held by the MHA brass later this week to take a call on resuming tourist visas, more than one-and-a-half years after they were suspended as part of containment measures against Covid-19.
A positive decision to restore tourist visas is expected to revive the tourism sector, apart from the hospitality and aviation industry. It is to be seen if the government will open tourist visas with riders, including limiting the facility to only vaccinated travelers for now and having a negative list of countries where Covid cases remain a concern.
Many nations including those in the Gulf and Europe have opened up for tourism. Sources said India will consider all possible factors before taking the final call on opening up to foreign tourists. A phased opening up is not being ruled out, as per sources.
Earlier in June, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had, while announcing measures to revive the tourism sector, stated that the first five lakh tourists would be granted visas free of charge, once international arrivals resumed. The total financial implication of this was put at Rs 100 crore.
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