Panjim, April 27: Improving services for immigration and issue of Electronic Tourist Visas (ETVS) and expediting identification of land for parking of taxis outside the airport are to be taken up on priority by multi agencies involved in ensuring smooth operations at the Goa International Airport, Dabolim.
A high level meeting chaired by Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Shri. Dilip Parulekar and co-chaired by Hon’ble MLA and Chairman of GTDC, Mr. Nilesh Cabral and Hon’ble Minister for Power, Mr. Milind Naik took stock of various issues concerning Goa airport at Dabolim. In attendance was the new Airport Director, officials from the Bureau of Immigration, Traffic Police, Goa Police, officials from the Department of Tourism and Goa Tourism Development Corporation, association of taxi operators attached to Goa airport, representatives of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa and others.
The airport authorities and bureau of immigration were impressed upon to resolve all issues ahead of the forthcoming tourism season starting from October 2016 so as to avoid chaos and confusion at the airport and to prevent any kind of harassment to tourists arriving in Goa at the international airport.
During the meeting, the new Airport Director Mr. B C H Negi was appraised of matters concerning the ETV facility and the need to expedite the process of issuing the same to tourists arriving at Dabolim. The airport director was impressed upon to increase the number of counters to meet the rising increase in tourist arrivals, need to increase manpower, improve the designs of the ETV issue counters, add proper signages, in addition to other issues concerning cleanliness, hygiene, trolley facilities etc. The airport director took note of issues raised by the association of taxi operators at Dabolim airport and the need to increase space for parking of taxis around the airport and within the close proximity of the arrival terminal.
As far as parking, a joint inspection is to be carried out between all the concerned departments to find suitable and alternate parking areas for taxi operators. The inspection will also look into issues within the new airport terminal at Dabolim and find solutions to improve services and facilities therein.
The airport director was also urged to permit the taxi association at Dabolim to use the counter facility at the airport after following all procedures.
The TTAG urged the airport director to take action against harassment to tourists by trolley pullers and those dirtying the premises.
The traffic police and transport department were also urged to take action against unauthorized parking of vehicles outside the airport and against so call taxi hijackers who it was alleged are creating chaos and disturbing the authorized taxi association from conducting smooth operations. Action is also proposed against those taxi drivers not using uniforms.
The Bureau of Immigration were urged to improve their services at the earliest as the forthcoming season starting from October 2016 would see a huge rise in tourist arrivals for ETV facility at Dabolim.
Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Mr. Dilip Parulekar also expressed willingness to initiate dialogue with the Ministry for Home Affairs and the Goa government to sort out issues raised at the review meeting.
Mr. Parulekar said, “I will speak to the Union Ministry for Home Affairs on need for improving immigration services at the Goa airport and iron out all problems irking the smooth functioning and issue of ETVs to foreign tourists arriving at Goa airport. Issues of upkeep and maintenance of the airport and parking issues will also need to be resolved before the new tourism season begins.”
Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation, Mr. Nilesh Cabral said, “There is need for taxi operators at the airport to adopt modern techniques with regards to issue of tickets and technology.” Mr. Cabral impressed on the association of taxi operators at Dabolim to also gear up and provide better services for tourists arriving at the airport.
Mr. Cabral also suggested training for staff appointed by the Bureau of Immigration in soft skills that will help while interacting with tourists at the ETV counters.