Panjim, Dec 17 — The tourism ministry on Wednesday reviewed the on-going E-Visa and Visa-on- Arrival (VoA) facility launched at the Goa Airport at Dabolim, an exercise to strengthen the mechanisms and simplify the processes. The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Tourism Minister, Shri. Dilip Parulekar along with Tourism Director, Shri. Ameya Abhyankar and Managing Director of Goa Tourism Development Corporation, Shri. Nikhil Desai.
The Goa Airport Director K D Rao, Assistant Director and Chief Immigration Officer Aravind Kumar H Nair, President of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Francisco Bragansa, Members of TTAG Ralph D’Souza, Earnest Dias and Savio Messias and representatives from the FRRO department of the Goa Police were also present.
Minister for Tourism, Shri. Dilip Parulekar in a statement after the meeting said, “We held deliberations with representatives from the Goa airport, Travel and Tourism Association and stakeholders to get a feed back of the new facility introduced at the Goa airport. We want to ensure that all difficulties and hurdles pertaining to this new facility introduced at the airport are mitigated and solutions worked out and systems put in place as the tourism season is at its peak and international visitors to Goa will begin arriving in large numbers,” he explained.
Suggestions for additional counters to facilitate issue of the E-Visas and VoA, continuation of the Group Landing Permit system for the season, an official Porter Counter, Signages in foreign languages disseminating VoA and E-Visa data and payment of fees were some of the recommendations that were deliberated upon during the review meeting today.
The TTAG members drew the attention of the Goa airport officials on various issues pertaining to issue of E-Visas and Visas on Arrival (VoA) and made several suggestions that would simplify the process and expedite the issue of this facility to foreign nationals from the 43 countries who have been enlisted for benefit under this system.
During the review meeting observations were made that even though the VoA and E-Visa facility has just been introduced foreign nationals are availing of this benefit. The Goa airport officials disclosed that as on today 375 VoA have been issued.
The officials from the Goa airport pointed out that the system is working smoothly, all counters are manned at all times and there is no shortage of staff in handling the counters set up for facilitating issue of VoA at the airport.
The tourism ministry and the travel and tourism industry suggested that sign boards in the foreign languages of Russian, German and others in addition to English be prominently displayed with all data and information, fee structures be provided to passengers availing of the VoA at the airport.
Representatives from the travel and tour industry also suggested for continuation of the Group Landing Permits (GLP) until such time the awareness of the VoA facility is spread across the 43 countries enlisted by the Union Home Ministry.
It was also suggested that an official Porter Counter be set up at the airport Goa and the airport officials are to take forward the recommendations.
The TTAG President Francisco Bragansa said, “Whatever challenges are being faced at the Goa airport with regards to the E-Visa and VoA were thrashed out today at the meeting and we are optimistic that officials of Goa Tourism and Goa Airport at Dabolim will find appropriate solutions.”