As the world hustles towards the pre-pandemic way of life, recent developments from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong stand testimonios of East Asia’s efforts to undo COVID-19 travel restrictions. Starting October 11th, travellers to Japan need not vent over visa requirements and daily visitor limits as both will be scrapped to encourage inbound tourism. Taiwan, on the other hand, will be opening its borders and do away with the three-day hotel quarantine mandates. A revision reveals that tourists will instead be required to undergo a seven-day self-monitoring period unless tested positive for COVID-19. Ban on inbound and outbound tour groups will also be lifted. Similarly, travellers to Hong Kong will no longer be required to undergo hotel quarantine anymore. Passengers will not be required to submit negative COVID-19 results prior to boarding but will have to get themselves tested on days two, four and six after arrival and will not be permitted entry in any public places up to three days after touchdown.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) will be suspending flights on October 18th between 11:00a.m and 5:00p.m. The 6 hours pause is scheduled for post-monsoon repair and maintenance of its two runways, 14/32 and 09/27. The Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL) announced that work will include runway edge lights for runway 14/32 and upgradation of Aeronautical Ground Lights (AGL) among other integral developments to ensure passenger safety and seamless air travel. Closure of the runway has been scheduled on a Tuesday as the second day of the week receives least air traffic during afternoon hours. All flights under the maintenance period have been rescheduled.
VFS Global, a visa outsourcing and technology services company, in collaboration with TLP, the Immigration Department for the Republic of Indonesia and Bank Mandiri, has announced a fast-track visa on arrival service for foreign tourists. Inbound international passengers to Jakarta airport will be able to conduct online prepayment of fees, avail fast-track access and assistance for a smooth application process and hastened immigration clearance. Nationals from a select list of 75 nationalities can apply for visa on arrival by submitting necessary documents and payment at https://indonesiavoa.vfsevisa.id/.
The upcoming year will set sail with India’s longest river cruise operating between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Bogibeel in Assam. Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced that the cruise will sweep across 4000 kilometres of the Ganga, Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) and the Brahmaputra. The cruise is expected to make its first journey with the opening of the new year in 2023. Budding livelihood opportunities in Assam and a boost to the local trade and tourism industry are expected, while Varanasi hopes to branch-out from religious tourism and develop itself as a leisure travel destination. In other riverine developments in Assam, two jetties afloat at Bogibeel in Dibrugarh district and Guijan in Tinsukia were inaugurated on September 19 with a total budget capped at ₹8.25 crores.
Canada is expected to welcome unvaccinated tourists into the country for the first time in two years. As revealed to The Globe and Mail by government officials, the country will no longer hold its vaccinated tourist entry protocol post September 30. Reportedly, the country further has plans to end random COVID-19 tests, as well as make the ArriveCan facility optional on the same date. Previously, inbound tourists were mandated to submit COVID-19 vaccination documents through the ArriveCan app. Wearing of masks will remain mandatory on public transport, such as domestic flights and trains.
Boasting the third-largest concentration of villages in India, Uttar Pradesh’s state tourism department is ready to steer tourists towards its quaint villages. The project dots 18 districts across the state’s map to promote the rich culture, history and heritage of Uttar Pradesh through rural tourism. Two villages from each of the chosen districts will be marked to develop in a bid to boost tourism. Course-of-action for the development will be inclusive of improvised agricultural practices to pave the way for agro-rural tourism and equipping villagers with training in handicrafts, handloom, craftsmanship and cow husbandry. With the project rolling, 26 villages will be opening their gates to welcome tourism with the backdrop of natural landscapes.
Sudrisha Goswami hopes to connect people with engaging stories from spectrums of art, culture, design and communities. She can be spotted sipping a cup of hot chocolate on any given day with a book in her hand and her eyes scanning crowds for different journeys.