Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday that RT-PCR tests would be made mandatory for international passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand. The government had also said that 2% of passengers arriving by each international flight will be tested randomly at airports.
“This has happened very recently and it will take some time to assess its impact. It will have an effect going forward. We are getting tourists but the inflow is not how it should be,” said Rajiv Mehra, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). Rajeev Kohli, joint MD, Creative Travel, said the five countries are not significant source markets for India but if the government decides to expand it to more countries, it would be a ‘substantial’ problem. “I think for the entire season that will close by March 31, we would be close to about 40% of pre-Covid 2019 levels as an industry,” he added.
Subhash Goyal, chairman of STIC Travel Group, said he hoped in 2023, the country will not only reach 2019 levels but also surpass them.
India Tourism statistics 2022, published in September, showed foreign tourist arrivals decreased to 1.52 million in 2021 compared to 2.74 million in 2020. In 2019, the last full year before the curtailment of mobility and business operations, India hosted 10.93 million foreign tourists.