Panaji: The first direct flight from the United Kingdom (UK) to Goa arrived at the state international airport at Dabolim as part of Goa tourism season 2016-17, officials said Wednesday.
The flight operated by Thomas Cook Airlines with 311 passengers on board landed at the airport from London Tuesday night.
Thomas Cook Airlines will operate six flights a week to Goa from London, three each from Manchester and Gatwick, Goa Tourism Department said in a release here.
"Data from the Goa airport indicates that 80 per cent of the passengers, who arrived from Manchester last night used the e-Tourist Visa (ETV) facility," it added.
Freedom Holidays Pvt Ltd, the authorised representative of Thomas Cook Airlines, will oversee all the operational aspects at the Goa airport.
State Tourism Minister, Dilip Parulekar, in a statement issued here said, "We are very happy that the tourism season 2016-17 has commenced with flying colours. We are very delighted that the number of direct flights from London to Goa are increasing and each flight will bring around 325 passengers."
"The UK market is a very important one for us and we are also going to impress on this at the upcoming World Trade Mart (WTM) 2016 in London," he added.
"We are very thankful to Goa Tourism for extending a warm welcome to our guests from the UK and supporting all our endeavours in increasing connectivity between London and Goa," Chairman and Managing Director of Freedom Holidays Pvt Ltd, Martin Joseph said.
The 2016-17 tourism season of Goa officially commenced last month with the first chartered flight from Russia on October 2.