TTAG wants immigration facility outsourced

With immigration facilities at Goa international airport showing no sign of improving, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), the travel body of hoteliers and tour operators, wants it to be outsourced.

A TTAG delegation met minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rejiju, last week, requesting that immigration facilities be improved by getting in a private enterprise to handle it, just as is done in US, UK and other developed countries. The immigration process is completed at departure or in the country of origin so that when the visitor lands, he can walk out of the airport. The delegation also met defence minister Manohar Parrikar to appraise him about the non-commissioning of the multi-level car parking even two years of it being ready.

The body also wants the other problems at Goa international airport be sorted, at least before the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (Brics) summit on October 15-16. The delegation was led by deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza.

President, TTAG, Savio Messias, who was part of the delegation, said any passenger travelling to the US by Etihad Airways can complete immigration at the Abu Dhabi airport at departure, which enables the passenger to walk out of any US airport on landing.

“There is no departure facility at the arrival. A similar system can be adopted at the Goa airport as a pilot project before adopting it for the rest of India,” he said.

The TTAG said visitors wanting to avail of immigration facilities have to wait for one to two hours in a queue at the immigration counter after flying for eight to 10 hours. “This is a big put off for any tourist or visitor,” said former president TTAG, Francisco de Braganca.

Though the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has tried to improve immigration facilities at Indian airports, it has not helped. “The situation remains the same even after two years. So we impressed upon MHA the need to take a bold decision in view of forthcoming BRICS summit,” said Messias