india opening borders to tourism

India Extends Travel Restrictions to Other 7 countries, Tourism Remains Closed

India is open to visitors from 28 territories through travel bubble agreements but general tourism remains closed. Incoming travelers need to submit a self-declaration and upload a negative COVID-19 test result no older than 72 hours at the moment of boarding.

The government is officially working on a calibrated resumption of tourist visas on a country-specific basis” aiming to reopen the country for tourism as soon as possible.

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India Reopening Borders – Latest Updates

September 15 – India extends travel restrictions to other 7 countries

In view of the new coronavirus variants of concern, particularly the one called Mu first detected in Colombia, South America, and now present in more than 40 countries worldwide, the Indian government decided to extend its entry restrictions to other countries. 

“Considering the risk of mutations in SARS-CoV-2, we have added to the list of the UK, EU and Middle East more countries, including South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, ”said the Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan at a press briefing.

International arrivals from these countries now need to submit a RT-PCR negative test to be allowed boarding.

Source: Times of India

August 30 – India to extend international travel ban through Sept. 30

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to extend India’s inbound travel ban through Sept. 30 as part of the strategy to reduce the incidence of coronavirus infections in the territory. 

Travelers visiting for essential reasons and the international flights that had scheduled will not be affected by the measure.

In the last 24 hours, India reported 42,909 new COVID-19 cases and 380 deaths bringing the death toll to 4.4 million according to the Union Health Ministry. That’s up to 10 times higher than the Indian government’s official death toll.

Source: Times of India

Who is allowed entry to India?

As of today, only the following travelers are allowed entry to the country.

  • Indian citizens
  • Foreign health care professionals
  • Business travelers
  • Medical tourists
  • Visa holders, except for tourist visa holders
  • Visitors from its 27 travel bubbles

What are the entry requirements to be granted access to India?

  • All travelers must apply for a visa from the Indian Embassy beforehand.
  • In order to enter the country, they must fill out a self-declaration form 72 hours before departure and submit a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test upon arrival.
  • Submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 96 hours before arrival.
  • If they do not have negative test results, they will face 7 days of institutional quarantine followed by 7 days of at-home isolation.
  • Travelers will also be thermally screened at the airport upon arrival.
  • Any visitors showing symptoms will be isolated.

What countries can now travel to India?

As of September 15, travelers visiting from the following 28 countries may be allowed entry.

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Bahrain
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Bhutan
  5. Canada
  6. Ethiopia
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Iraq
  10. Japan
  11. Kenya
  12. Kuwait
  13. Maldives
  14. Nepal
  15. Netherlands
  16. Nigeria
  17. Oman
  18. Qatar
  19. Russia
  20. Rwanda
  21. Seychelles
  22. Sri Lanka
  23. Tanzania
  24. Ukraine
  25. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  26. United Kingdom (UK)
  27. United States of America (USA)
  28. Uzbekistan

(Source)

COVID-19 cases in India

COVID-19 cases in India
Source

As of September 15, India has reported 33,316,755 positive COVID cases and 443,528 deaths caused by the virus. India is now the second world’s second worst-hit country, after the United States.

Indian people having food together

However, even when lockdowns were in effect, the lack of contact tracing and the extremely crowded conditions in the cities made it hard to contain the spread of Covid-19.

One troubling piece of information is that tribal groups on the isolated Andaman and Nicobar Islands have come down with the virus. Since India tightly controls access to these areas, the fact that even they are getting sick means that the virus has spread everywhere in the country.

How safe is it to travel to India?

Man from India wearing a facemask

While not all parts of India are dealing with a rise in cases, most of the major cities are.

While many hotels, restaurants, beaches, and other tourist sites have been opening up, they are doing so with limited seating capacity, thermal checks, and other restrictions.

According to the CDC, the COVID-19 situation in India is at warning level 4. This means, travelers should not visit the country at the moment. (Source: CDC.gov)

Why visit India?

India is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations and it has an architecture that is rooted in this history.

Here visitors will find 32 UNESCO World Heritage sites which make this a delight for those who love history or design.

One building that should be on everyone’s bucket list is the Taj Mahal, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a marble mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

In addition to this stunning structure, there are many other architectural wonders in India. There are the ruins of ancient cities, forts dating from the British era, and more recent monuments from after India’s independence. The variety of temples, mosques, and churches speak of India’s religious diversity.

Travelers will find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Catholics, Jains, and Buddhists. Many tourists come to India to develop a deeper appreciation for their own spirituality, whether at a meditation or yoga retreat or simply through visiting the local holy sites.

There is also a wide variety of foods, from moderately spicy northern curries to the burning hot flavors of the South. Some of the tastiest meals can be made up of Indian street food, sold by vendors who specialize in just a few dishes.

Indian people are considered to be among the most gracious in Asia. Everywhere tourists go, they are greeted with smiles.


India Reopening: Updates Archives

August 16 – Inbound travel from India still banned in most EU countries

Some countries around the world have started to welcome back travelers from India. The most recent one being Spain, which also reopened its visa center in Delhi. 

However, most EU countries still refuse to accept travelers from India due to concerns about the Delta variant that was first discovered in its territory. 

The Czech Republic, Austria, Estonia and Germany will only accept visitors for emergency reasons after spending 10 days in quarantine. 

Iceland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Portugal, Finland, and Italy will request fully vaccinated visitors from India to also present a negative COVID-19 test and spend 5 days in quarantine. Only essential travel is allowed. 

On the other hand, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Greece and Spain have eased restrictions for arrivals from India.

Source: Schengenvisainfo.com

August 1 – India extends international inbound commercial flight ban through Aug. 31

Indian authorities have extended its travel ban on international commercial flights through Aug. 31. 

Cargo flights and those coming under bilateral travel bubble agreements will remain operational.

Allowed passengers with travel history to Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa, must undergo additional COVID-19 testing on arrival at their own expense. 

In case COVID-19 results return positive, travelers will have to undergo quarantine at a government facility for no less than 14 days and until they can produce a negative result.

Source: Times Of India 

July 14 – India extends ban on international travel through July 31

India has extended its ban on inbound travel through July 31 amid concerns of a third wave of coronavirus fueled by the Delta variant, first detected in its territory. 

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), has requested the government not to reopen for tourism over the months to come.

“Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour are all needed, but can wait for few more months,” the IMA said, adding that attendants of these mass gatherings are “potential super spreaders for the COVID third wave.”

As for now, repatriation, and approved commercial flights under bilateral “travel bubble” agreements can continue operating.

June 25 – India will face a third wave of COVID-19 cases in October due to early reopening 

India is seeing a slow but optimistic drop in coronavirus infections. From the peak of 400,000 cases a few weeks ago, the daily record has dropped to an average of 70,000 to 80,000. 

Following this positive news, several states have started to ease lockdowns across the country.

Major cities like Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana, and Karnataka have already reopened shops, restaurants and hotels.

However, epidemiologists, health experts and other authorities say a third wave is inevitable and would impact India by October, 2021.

“We think this reopening strategy is not prudent and may result in a renewed rise in infections and re-tightening of restrictions in the future” […] “vaccination rates are far below the levels deemed to be safe for easing social distancing measures substantially in the more populous and economically important states,” said Priyanka Kishore, head of India and Southeast Asia economics at Oxford Economics.

CNBC

June 10 – India reopens major cities but extends international flight ban through June 30

With 91,227 new infections over the past 24 hours, India has reported the lowest positive infection rate since the beginning of April when the country was seeing more than 400,000 new cases per day. 

This – relative – positive news led authorities to allow business to reopen key Indian cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai.

Other restrictions such as curfews remain in place in multiple zones.

Also, international passenger flights will remain banned at least until June 30. Those visiting for essential reasons must register online through the Air Suvidha portal and upload their negative (RT-PCR) test results. Quarantine is not mandatory by advised.

Source: BBCNews

May 24 – India might start lifting restrictions on May 31 as COVID-19 situation improves

First and foremost, all India continues to be closed for tourism to most countries. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Sunday that if the epidemiology data continue to show positive figures, the country may start gradually lifting a number of restrictions from May 31.

“The battle is not over yet. Even now, more than 1,000 cases are emerging daily. The general opinion is that the lockdown should be extended for another week. If we are to lift the lockdown right now, then whatever we have gained after struggle, hard work and sacrifice of one month might be lost,” said the Chief Minister on Sunday. 

So far, India is counting 255,283 new daily average COVID-19 cases.

(Source: Times of India)

May 5 – India’s COVID-19 devastation may affect other countries reopening plans

COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc in the second-most populous country in the world. With 400,000 new infections and more than 4,000 deaths per day, the country’s health system has already collapsed. 

Top scientific advisers to the Indian government have said that given that Covid-19 is a global issue, the consequences will be devastating if the international community does help India to control the pandemic ASAP. 

The new variant B.1.617, first discovered in India, is suspected to be more infectious and possibly able to resist the immunity provided by the current vaccines against COVID-19. 
India as the major provider of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide threatens the vaccine supply in multiple countries as well as the reopening plans, according to experts.

April 19 – Multiple countries have expressed concerns about the new “Indian” coronavirus variant.

Health officials from India and the U.K, are closely monitoring and investigating if the new B.1.617 variant a.k.a “the Indian variant” that has already infected around a hundred people in India, the U.K. and Scotland, and some more in  Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, and the U.S., has the potential to evade the efficacy of the vaccines. 

This so-called “double-mutation variant” could be behind the latest deadlier COVID-19 wave of infections the country has experienced since the pandemic began.

In case this new variant is in fact fueling the pandemic in the U.K., as some epidemiologists have suggested, it could have a negative impact nor only on India’s health system but also on the country’s reopening plan and its travel bubbles.

February 24

The Indian government has been officially holding inter-ministerial meetings to create a strategy that allows them to reopen the country for tourism to countries where the COVID-19 situation is under control, according to local media.

Additionally, effective on February 17, India opened a new air travel bubble with Russia.  Commercial airlines of both these countries are allowed to restart flights to and from them.