India on Monday, Nov. 15 has begun allowing fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country on regular flights.
Tourists entering India must be fully vaccinated, follow all COVID-19 protocols and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight, according to the health ministry. Many will also need to undergo a post-arrival COVID-19 test at the airport.
However, travelers from countries that have agreements with India for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, such as the U.S., U.K. and many European nations, can leave the airport without undergoing a COVID-19 test.
This is the first time India has allowed foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country since March 2020, when it imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the world in an attempt to contain the pandemic. Fully vaccinated tourists on chartered flights were allowed to enter starting last month.
To encourage travelers to visit India, the government plans to issue 500,000 free visas through next March. The moves are expected to boost the tourism and hospitality sector which was battered by the pandemic.