Goa expects Modi to push for visa-on-arrival for US

PTI, PANAJI | 27 September 2014 23:06 IST

Tourism industry in Goa is of the view that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing visit to the USA, coupled with the Central policy of granting visa on arrival, will go a long way in attracting more number of Americans to the coastal state in the upcoming tourist season.

"There is already a buzz about India in the USA over prime minister Narendra Modi's visit, which is currently underway. There are lot of Americans who would like to come to Goa but were discouraged due to prolonged process to get visa," State Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said here today.

The minister said that Central government's announcement to introduce visa-on-arrival in six states, including Goa, will help in attracting tourists from the USA.

"Currently we have a visa-on-arrival facility for nine countries, and we will be adding 16 more countries to it. The USA has been included in the list," Parulekar said.

He said that citizens from countries like Japan and Korea, besides various European countries will also get visa on arrival facility, tentatively beginning from November, in Goa.

"A tourist can get down at airport, produce his passport, fill a form and get the visa on the spot," Parulekar said.

The Union government has also decided to introduce group visas in some destinationslike Goa, wherein more than ten tourists arriving together can avail a single visa.

"The group visa would be given on the condition that they (tourists) will have to be certified by local surety like the Indian tour agency. The group will have to exit the country from the place where they have arrived. They cannot go to some other airport and leave the country. They also will have to exit together," the minister said.

He said that the state tourism industry is expecting 15 per cent growth in footfalls for this season, beginning from October.

"The first chartered flight operated by SITA Group would arrive on October 15 from Ukraine. Last year we had 1,123 chartered flights arriving in Goa but this year we have a target of 1,400 flights," Parulekar said.

The minister said that he was also anticipating rise in cruise ships.

"Last year, 75 cruise ships had touched Goa's port, which would be increased this year," he said, adding that a cruise terminal is planned at Mormugao Port Trust which will bring in more than 200 cruises annually.

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