Panaji: Over 10,000 foreign tourists, more than half of which are Russians, availed of the newly-introduced Visa on Arrival (VOA) facility at the Dabolim international airport in Goa, the state tourism department said Monday. In a statement here, the department said that as on Feb 22 this year, 10,475 foreign nationals from 26 countries have availed the VOA facilities for arrival in Goa led by Russia (6581) and Ukraine (3113).
The VOA scheme was launched at over a dozen select international airports, including Goa`s Dabolim facility, by the union home ministry in November last year and is aimed at boosting tourism through simplified arrival mechanism and cheaper visas.
“In mid-January this year, we issued 5,000 VOAs and within a month, the figure has crossed 10,000,” said Aravind K. Nair, chief immigration officer at Dabolim airport.
Goa, a leading beach tourism destination, annually receives half a million of foreign tourists, mostly from Russia and Britain.
Britain, however, has not been included in the list of 26 countries whose nationals have been accorded the VOA facility.