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E-visas, special trains to boost Goa tourism: Shripad Yesso Naik

E-visas, special trains to boost Goa tourism: Shripad Yesso Naik

The liberalisation of e-visa will help attract larger number of tourists from more countries as Goa currently offers visa on arrival to only 12 countries.

New Delhi: E-visa facilities to lure foreign tourists and a luxury train for domestic travellers are some steps proposed to boost tourism in Goa, officials said on Tuesday.

The announcement came after union Tourism and Culture Minister Shripad Yesso Naik met the state's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar in Goa. The liberalisation of e-visa will help attract larger number of tourists from more countries as Goa currently offers visa on arrival to only 12 countries.

"We have made a proposal of issuing e-visas to foreign tourists. If we liberalise the visa system for foreign tourists, it will help boost tourism in the country," Naik said. Naik added that the railway ministry would be approached to launch a luxury train on the lines of "Palace on Wheels" as well as a fast train between Mumbai and Goa.

"We would initiate a proposal for a luxury train on the lines of Palace on Wheels. This will help attract more high-end category tourists into the state. A fast train between Mumbai and Goa will also be proposed," he said.

In a bid to promote religious tourism, Naik said the ministry of external affairs will be approached to invite Pope Francis for the St. Francis Xavier exposition.

The decennial exposition of the sacred relics of Goa's patron saint, St. Francis Xavier at Old Goa will be held in Old Goa from Nov 22, 2014 till Jan 4, 2015. The sacred relics of the Spanish saint are taken in a ceremonial procession from its resting place in the mausoleum in Basilica of Bom Jesus across the church complex to the more spacious Se Cathedral for veneration during the exposition.

Emphasising that world-class facilities were needed to pave the way forward for tourism in the state, Naik said: "The tourism map for Goa will be employment-centric."