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Goa tourism body says no e-visa facility for UK travellers likely to hit business

Goa tourism industry stakeholders have said their business is likely to get affected this tourist season due to the withdrawal of e-visa facility for visitors from the United Kingdom.

The chartered flights which were supposed to arrive from the UK in October, when the new tourist season commences in Goa, have been postponed to November, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Nilesh Shah said on Tuesday.

TTAG is an apex tourism body in the coastal state.

The UK no longer falls within the over 150 countries that can access the online tourist e-visa option when travelling to India, which has caused a considerable strain for tourists.

Shah said the issuance of e-visas for travellers from the UK had stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK and Russia are two important destinations from where visitors arrive in Goa during the tourist season.

As per figures of the Goa tourism department, before the outbreak of COVID-19, around 40,000 tourists used to arrive from the UK annually in the coastal state.

Shah said small and medium-scale hoteliers will be affected if the UK tourist numbers dwindle this season.

The chartered flights which were supposed to arrive from the UK this month have been postponed to November, he said.

“These tourists used to spend long holidays in Goa, contributing to the tourism sector,” he said.

State Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte was not available for a response on the matter.

Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai on Tuesday appealed to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to request the Centre to resume e-visa facility for UK visitors.  

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