'Cumbersome Indian visa norms hindering Goa tourism'

Panaji, Oct 9 : Cumbersome Indian visa norms coupled with high hotel tariff were proving to be a hindrance for tourism promotion in Goa, state tourism minister Dilip Parulekar told the legislative assembly Wednesday.

Tourist-friendly visa norms in Thailand and Sri Lanka were weaning away visitors from Goa, Parulekar told the state legislative assembly.

He added that economic recession in Europe had also "led to cancellation of holidays and travel plans".

Foreign tourists arrivals increased only marginally over the last three years.

In 2010, the state received 4,41,053 foreign tourists and the figure rose marginally to 4,45,935 in 2011. In 2012 also, the number increased by a meagre 4,595.

Parulekar also blamed recessionary trends as another reason for the sluggish rise in foreign tourists arrivals.

Other reasons cited by the tourism minister included high hotel tariff, and increase in royalty imposed by the Airports Authority of India -- which has already led to cancellation of charter flights -- resulting in hike in passenger fares.

He further said that non-availability of 'visa on arrival' facility was also proving to be a deterrent.

The state, the minister said, ranks 11th on the all-India tourist arrival map.

"The state government has undertaken aggressive measures to market the state within India and abroad," Parulekar said.

"The department also intends to intensify its publicity campaign by utilising the various media forms in India and abroad to attract the upper-class tourists," Parulekar said.

--IANS (Posted on 09-10-2013)

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