India may reopen for foreign tourists as early as October 15, Union Minister of State for Tourism told reporters on Sunday.
“As the pandemic decreases, we will start national and international tourism. The announcement will be made soon and there is a possibility of it beginning after October 15,” said the minister.
He added that international flights have started operations, and requests to resume charter flights to India have been placed.
“International flights have started and we have requested for charter flights to resume by a particular date so that people can book trips to India and nowhere else,” he added.
For instance, the Chief Minister of Goa has already forwarded a request by the tourism industry to the Union Home Affairs Ministry urging the latter to grant permission to resume international charter flights at the earliest.
India has been open to travelers from 28 countries including the United States, the UK, Russia, and Japan through “health corridors.”
Despite this, travel to India for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted. Only some categories of visitors including business travelers, as well as people moving to India as residents, are permitted to enter the country.
India’s rather strict restrictions are easily explained due to the Delta variant, which was first detected in its territory and lead the country to one of the most severe public health emergencies the world has ever witnessed.
On Monday, the country’s supreme court approved a decision to pay a compensation of about $670 to each closest relative of victims of the second wave.
Fortunately, data released by the Indian Health Ministry show that cases have significantly declined since May when the country reported more than 400,000 daily infections.
India is currently reporting a bit over 20,000 daily cases. Also, the number of active cases has dropped for the eighth day in a row, the lowest in 200 days according to the latest report.