Goa airport at Dabolim issues 10,475 VOAs as on February 22, 2015.
Issue of VOA doubles within a month.
Goa maintains third spot in the percentage share of different ports for issue of VoA.
Panjim, Feb 23: Issue of Visas-On-Arrival (VOA) at the Goa airport, Dabolim, doubles within a month taking the figure to 10,475 as on February 22, 2015. While this has got Goa Tourism on an upbeat mode, it has more reason to cheer as Goa airport officials claim that Goa continues to maintain its third spot in the percentage share of different ports for issue of VoA. New Delhi tops the list followed by Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram.
The top ten source countries for VOA in Goa during the last two months have been Russia, Ukraine, USA, Germany, Finland, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand , Norway and Jordan. The Chief Immigration Officer at Goa airport, Dabolim, Shri. Aravind K. Nair said, “In mid-January this year we had issued 5,000 VOAs and within a month the figure has crossed 10,000.”
Shri. Nair further said, “Between February 8-17, this year we have issued more than 150 VOAs in a day and on certain days especially during Carnaval we have issued more than 200 VOAs in a day.” Shri.Nair further went on to state that in the months to come, Goa may even surpass Mumbai in terms of percentage share of different ports for VOA.
Goa being a tourism destination has an edge over Delhi and Mumbai which are generally ports for arrival to India. That Goa is third on the list is a huge fillip reaffirming that foreign nationals from across the globe choose Goa to arrive at and avail the VOA facility directly. As on February 22, 2015, foreign nationals from 26 countries have availed VOA facility from Goa airport at Dabolim.
The country wise break up is as follows: Russia (6581), Ukraine (3113), USA (167), Germany (160), Oman ( 3), Israel (8), Finland (118), Norway (47), Palestine (1), American Samoa (1), Japan (5), Jordan (29), Fiji (1), Kenya (1), UAE (34), Indonesia (2), Australia (57), Singapore (3), Philippines (22), Brazil (6) Luxemburg (4), NZ (12), Burma (1), Mexico (2), Republic of Korea (1) and Thailand (3).
Expectations run high here in Goa as the central government is planning to add more countries to the existing list which provides VOAA facility to 43 countries. The buzz is that 100 countries may be added to the list, say airport officials.
Goa became part of the e-regime facility from November 27, 2014 when the NDA government at the Center launched the same giving nine airports in the country the mandate to issue VOA. Goa airport at Dabolim commenced issue of this facility from December 4, 2014. Within a fortnight 357 VOAs were issued and have graphs have upped since then. Within less than three months, Goa has issued 10,475, a figure that airport officials were targeting for the season.
The Minister for Tourism, Govt. Of Goa, Shri. Dilip Parulekar said, “The VOA numbers are getting better every passing day and we are definitely one of the leading States in the country under the VOA regime introduced in November last year.”
“I am also very happy that the central government is considering more countries for extending the VOA facility and this will make it easier for tourists to avail of this benefit and have easy access to Goa.”
“I also applaud the Goa airport officials for putting in all efforts to ensure smooth and speedy issue of VOA to international tourists and will go a long way in increasing the issue of e-visas and coping with the demand for this facility,” Shri. Parulekar said.