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Starting next week, Goa to get two charters per week from UK

PANAJI: Days after the season’s first charter from the UK, carrying around 250 passengers, landed in Goa, Tui Airways has said it will fly two charters a week from next weekend. The development has further brightened the tourism sector’s hopes; they were gloomy last month after prospective British tourists started cancelling their plans to visit Goa over visa issues. Tuesday’s announcement is the latest in the rollercoaster season that started with Tui initially planning four charters a week, but later changing to just one a week after the massive cancellations. “The problem of e-visas has still not been sorted out, though efforts are being made to resolve it. The paper visa is the only challenge,” a tour operator said, adding that he can’t comment on whether the airline will increase charters to Goa in the current season. We can’t predict the behaviour of British travellers,” he said. Even Sunday’s charter from the UK that landed in Goa had some cancellations, but the reasons behind them were not made known. The average stay of a charter tourist is around two weeks. Last year, Goa received no charters from the UK, but over 3,000 Britishers visited Goa. In 2020, the state received 1.07 lakh tourists from the UK, who came either by charter flights or as free independent travellers (FITs). A wellness service provider based at Agonda beach in Canacona — who traditionally served UK and European tourists — said that since he opened his centre for the season, there have been more domestic tourists than foreign ones. A few years ago, it was the opposite. “I don’t know what’s in store but for us, the last season was dull,” he said.