Issue of UK visas will be resolved soon: Goa CM

Panaji, Oct 13 (IANS): Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that the Union Home Ministry has given an assurance to resolve the issue of the United Kingdom visas as soon as possible.

"I have discussed UK visa issue with Home Minister Amit Shah. It will be sorted out soon. There were some foreign ministry related issues, hence it was getting delayed. But he has assured to resolve it as soon as possible. Various other issues related to the state were discussed," Sawant told reporters here.

Sawant had met Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday.

Expressing concern about the low footfalls of foreign tourists due to Covid and other issues, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) had also urged Chief Minister Sawant to convince the central government to include the UK for issuance of e-visas.

Goa Forward Party president and MLA Vijai Sardesai had on Tuesday claimed that the coastal state will face a loss of Rs 500 crore if tourists from the United Kingdom don't visit the state on account of hindrances in getting a visa.

"I want to appeal to Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift the visa restrictions. We can come together and meet the PM over the issue," Sardesai had said.

Sardesai had said that Goa is facing cancellation of 7 to 8 bookings per day in small and medium hotels, due to the new visa restriction by the Ministry of External Affairs, where British tourists have to seek a visa from nine centres (Visa Processing) in England.

"This (lifting restriction) is important because in Goa annually minimum 40,000 to 50,000 tourists arrive from the UK. As per statistics of pre pandemic period each tourist spends around Rs 98,000, which means around a Rs 500 crore turnover takes place from this area," Sardesai had said.



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