74-year-old Johnny Paul Pierce 26 travelled to India for his fifth visit on February 26. He was staying at Kandanadu in Ernakulam, Kerala and got stuck there because of the lockdown.
But unlike others who want to go back home, Pierce wants to stay in Kerala and has even applied for extension of his tourist visa to a business visa, which allows him to stay in the country for 5 years.
He recently knocked at the door of Kerala High Court, and told The Indian Express:
My aspiration is to show a viable business model and get a five-year business visa. The easiest way to become a resident is to marry an Indian, but I am 74 and probably past that option.
He has plans to open a tourism business in India and aims to hire retired people like him from the US.
I would recruit residents from the USA. Those who could afford to stay long term are generally the retired folks who are at the risk of contracting the virus in the USA.
Kerala being one of the safest states during the pandemic is another reason he wants to stay there.
I am absolutely safe in Kerala where the entire state has only reported 25 deaths...It’s risky to travel to the US at the age of 74. It is chaos there. And I love Kerala. I don’t want to go back and I would like to live here peacefully.
As for his business model, he has already thought things through:
Right now is the time for preparation and establishing more contacts in the hotel industry. I have found that many resorts are up for lease at wonderful prices and I am looking for a resort to lease near Wagamon. I hope to find a place with several rooms that I could establish as a Covid-free zone.