- Neither taxis nor GST, foreigners blame stringent visa rules for drop in arrivals
Neither taxis nor GST, foreigners blame stringent visa rules for drop in arrivals
16 Jan 2019 06:10am IST
16 Jan 2019 06:10am IST
Foreigners take to social media to flay visa rules, denial of visas; Many tourists head to other countries; Suggest visa on arrival as option
PANJIM: As mudslinging has begun over the drop in tourist arrivals with every association blaming the other and pointing fingers at the State government, there seems to be another secret ‘villain’ in the story - the visa rules.
There are a number of foreign tourists who have had a sour experience and many of them have called off the trip to Goa during the Christmas to New Year week due to complicated visa formalities.
Russian tour operator stopped charter services to Goa on January 12 citing several issues, however, they did not mention the visa issues.
On social media it is a different story with a lot of people disappointed with the tourism season this year. Various reasons are being thrown around and they probably all count. A major reason for Russian, Ukrainian and other Eastern and Central European tourists not visiting is Indian consulates making it difficult to grant visas.
Women under-25 are presumed to be suspicious and almost always refused visas, they say. “Not only is this sexist and discriminatory and shows Indian mentality in bad light but it also chases away genuine tourists who come here primarily for the sun,” writes Ricardo Joseph de Souza, partner in a top nightclub in Goa.
A Whatsapp message by a Russian tourist to Herald says she has been to Goa many time but this time around the authorities have been asking for multiple documents. “I received a refusal from the Embassy for my tourist visa. At this moment I need a document/ letter from the hotel
confirming my stay within the period January 15 to February 2 with the stamp of the hotel. This letter should prove my stay is prepaid,” she wrote in the message.
Further, she added, “Also to take a paper from FRRO that I didn’t violate visa regime. I am arranging letter from hotel but don’t know about FRRO.”
Another tourist, Sonia Hillidge says her visa was refused for a second time. “Mine was refused again, 3 adults and 2 children choosing somewhere else,” she writes.
Anastasia Gritsay, a Russian tourist says, “Our friend has got refused just now in Moscow (but her son got) - simple electronic touristic visa. She travels all over the world.”
Jenny Bühring says this has been the case for most foreigners and the visa rules need to be relaxed. Tourists also suggest that Visa on Arrival or e-visa which would sort the issue. Mattias Borgström says the “Visa on arrival will stir things up a bit.”