India to allow tourists to visit from Oct. 15

India will start allowing foreign tourists to enter the country beginning on October 15. Visitors have been barred from entering for one and a half years, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Indian government announced on Thursday that it will begin issuing tourist visas in phases from October 15.

It says it will allow tourists to enter the country only on chartered flights for the time being. Tourists who cannot arrive on such flights will have to wait until November 15 to visit the country.

The government stopped issuing tourist visas last year in March as an anti-pandemic measure.

India has a population of 1.3 billion. In May, the number of infections exploded. There were more than 400,000 new daily cases. But recently the number of new infections has fallen below 20,000 on some days.

Tourism industry executives and local government officials have been calling on the Indian government to allow tourists to start visiting the country again.

Tourism is one of India's major industries. Attention is focused on whether the resumption of visits by foreign tourists will help the country's economy recover. The nation's economy has been hit hard by the pandemic.