Beginning in September, the United States will resume its regular scheduled in-person tourist appointments.
On Sunday night, the United States Embassy in India posted a tweet with the following message: “The US mission to India is pleased to announce that we are resuming routine in-person tourist visa appointments in September 2022. Previously scheduled placeholders have now been cancelled.”
“Applicants whose placeholder appointments were cancelled may now reenter the scheduling system to book regular appointments. Appointments have been opened through 2023. (See the website for availability),” it went on to say.
Despite the deadly delta wave that caused many countries, including the United States of America, to impose restrictions on outbound travel from here for many months, India had emerged as the fifth largest source country for international visitors to the United States in 2021. This was an improvement of five places from the year 2019 before the pandemic.
The United States welcomed approximately 2.2 crore visitors from other countries in 2018, a decrease of 72 percent from 2019. Mexico (1.04 crore) and Canada (25.3 lakh), both of which are located in North America and share a land border with the United States, took the top two spots as source countries. According to data provided by the United States Department of Commerce, India was the third largest overseas source country (not sharing a land border with the US) with 4.3 lakh visitors from here, coming in third only behind Colombia (10.6 lakh) and the United Kingdom (4.6 lakh).
Indians ranked third among tourists from other countries in terms of the amount of money they spent in the United States (excluding the cost of flight). According to the data provided by the Department of Commerce, the total value of US exports related to travel and tourism in 2021 was USD 81 billion. Out of this total, Mexico was responsible for 11.7 billion USD, China was responsible for 9.0 billion USD, and India was responsible for 5.8 billion USD.
The 4.3 lakh travelers from India represented a 71 percent drop from the levels seen prior to the pandemic in 2019. When the United States catches up with the rest of the world and lifts its pre-departure testing requirement for travellers from India who are completely vaccinated, the rate at which international tourism expands will quicken significantly. This will be an additional boost when global aviation fuel prices decrease from their sky-high heights, which will allow airfares to revert to more reasonable levels.