German tourists seek visa extension up to 1year

Indo-German Friendship Society (IGFS), an institution of the like minded people, has decided to petition the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard.

Last Updated: Dec 08, 2011, 11:10 AM IST

Panaji: German tourists visiting Goa want parity on the lines with their UK counterparts regarding relaxation in the mandatory two-month cooling period required between subsequent visits to India.

Indo-German Friendship Society (IGFS), an institution of the like minded people, has decided to petition the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard.

"Many retired Germans want to stay in Goa for a longer period, at times up to one year, but are forced to cut down their trips to only 6 months," Aurobindo Xavier, president, IGFS said.

"If they (German tourists) have to come back, they have to go back to Germany, go through the cooling period of two months and then reapply for visa, which is tedious," he said.

Xavier said the Ministry of Home Affairs has already granted a relaxation for the UK nationals by extending their tourist visa up to one year.

"We want that similar facility be extended to Germany," he said, adding the online petition to be submitted to the concerned ministry would be prepared demanding the extension of the tourist visa.

Germany`s association with the coastal state dates back to the Hippie days when the Germans used to travel to the coastal state in their vans.

Germans had even celebrated 60 years of discovering Goa last year. Their affection towards Goa continued and they became the first community to arrive in Goa with chartered flights in 1985-86, before the trend of chartered tourism started.

"South East Asian countries are more preferable for retired people. But unfortunately India does not have a special visa system as it is in other countries," said Ursua Kleinhas, a German national, who is living retired life in Goa.

Kleinhas, who herself has to undergo the procedural rigmarole every six months, said, "Goa would be losing on high spending tourists due to these regulations. There is neck-to-neck competition in the market and Goa cannot afford to miss the opportunity".

According to another German national, even after keeping the German embassy in loop over their demand nothing has happened.

"German Embassy cannot do anything as norms are set by Ministry of Home Affairs of India," another German national said.

Goa receives around 15,000 German tourists every year and their number is shrinking.

PTI