While welcoming the decision of the Union Government to extend the visa-on-arrival facility to Goa airport, the travel and hospitality industry in the State has said that it should have been extended to countries like Russia and Scandinavian countries which have direct charter operations into Goa.

President of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) Francisco de Braganca, on Friday, while thanking Union Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi for pushing the proposal through the Union Home Ministry and getting it approved by the inter-Ministerial meet, said the facility would have been a bigger boost to Goa in comparison to other destinations in India had it been extended to Russia, Scandinavian countries and Western Europe.

“The countries so far included would not help the Goa tourism much,” he said. Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand , Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar and Indonesia do not have much tourism business coming into Goa, he said. He said that Goa needed to push the Centre to include Russia, other Scandinavian Countries, Western Europe including UK amongst countries to whom this facility will be made available. In fact, the Union Tourism Ministry had pushed for all these countries, excluding the UK. But the approval granted by the Home Ministry has been extended to certain countries which have no much tourism inflow into Goa.

Nonetheless, tourism into India as a whole will grow at least by 25 to 35 per cent with this decision, said the TTAG which was doggedly pursuing the issue for many years.

He also pointed out that countries like Australia and Sri Lanka were providing e-visa for a small fee.

  • ‘The countries so far included have not helped Goa tourism much’

  • ‘The process of granting visas needs to be simplified’