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India officially reopens to foreign tourists after a long 20-month lockdown

by Ashima

Infection numbers have remained low despite domestic tourism resuming.

By Ashima Sethi

India has officially opened its borders to foreign tourists.

This decision is motivated by the fact that COVID-19 infection numbers remain low across the country despite local restrictions easing over the course of the last few weeks.

In early May, the country was experiencing their worst wave yet with peak infection rates surpassing 400,000 cases per day. This is starkly different today with new cases staying below the 15,000 mark, proving that the country’s vaccine rollout has been immensely successful.

India announced that they have administered more than a billion vaccines. This statistic coupled with the fact that most Indians now have COVID-19 antibodies have quelled worries about infection numbers increasing rapidly.

After putting a halt on tourist visas in March last year, Indian officials have announced the nation will be allowing quarantine-free entry to fully vaccinated travellers from 99 countries. You can find the full list here. The only rule in place is that tourists must present a negative COVID test that had been taken within 72 hours of their flight, monitor their health for 14 days after arrival, and are responsible for seeking medical attention if required.

This greenlight for tourism started last month when tourists one chartered flights were already being granted entry to the country, but now Indian officials have given the go-ahead for tourists to start travelling in on commercial flights as well. Statistics from AP demonstrate that less than 3 million foreign tourists visited in 2020, which was a reduction of more than 75% when compared to 2019.

According to Bloomberg, the nation’s domestic tourism industry has seen a boom now that infection numbers have dropped with people flocking to popular tourism destinations like Goa and the Northern regions like Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Despite this, COVID-19 numbers in the country remain a lot more steady compared to countries like the United Kingdom that have seen surges in infections recently.

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