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5 minute delay in entry leaves British couple without a visa for Goa

People visit Goa all the time. Even though there is a tourist season and what’s called an ‘offseason’, it doesn’t stop tourists from coming to Goa throughout the year. Of course, during the season is when one is likely to see foreigners. The offseason tends to have a lot of domestic tourists come in. Of course, for those traveling from abroad, having an Indian visa is a must. Goa sees a lot of tourists come in on travel packages from the UK. Which means a lot of these people prepare for their holiday in advance and make sure that they have the necessary travel documents in hand. And they believe that all will be ok. But unfortunately, this was not the case for one British couple.

British couple’s dream to visit India is shattered in a matter of minutes

While their story took place at least four months ago, it has only come to light now after being picked up by the news media. The British couple, Ned and Margaret Beercroft had booked a holiday package to the holiday destination in March. It was a lifelong dream to come to India and the Beercrofts were looking forward to their holiday in Goa. But, luck seemed to abandon them at the last minute.

“We’ve wanted to go to India for ages, but we’re certainly not going back now,” said a disappointed Ned, an old man in his 70’s. What brought on a statement like this stems from the story below.

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The Beercrofts were to enter Goa on the 21st of March as per their travel plans. However, the with the four-and-a-half hour time difference, when they arrived, their dream of holidaying in Goa was ruined. According to News 18 and DNA Online, the couple flew out of Gatwick Airport at 9.15am on 21st March. However, the with the time difference, they only landed in Goa at 12:05 am on 22nd March. All it took was a 5-minute delay in entering Goa to seriously ruin their plans as the date of entry on their visa had expired by then. The airport authorities would not allow the British couple to exit the airport.

Sent back to the UK due to a glitch in the visa

They had to go back. Imagine spending thousands of pounds and a 10-hour journey to a country you’ve always wanted to visit. And then a 5-minute delay, due to a time difference that is not in anyone’s hands, makes you enter the country late. Adding to that, the time difference and delay have also created a major problem wherein your visa is no longer valid because you didn’t land as per its actual date of entry. The airport authorities in Goa refused to assist the elderly British couple with any of it.

The Beercrofts had to go back on the same flight they arrived on. It would be another 10-hour long journey back to the UK. And to add to their existing woes, they had paid £2000 for their holiday package which wasn’t refunded. The British couple even complained to the Indian embassy that same day, but still, haven’t received any reply till date.

77-year-old Ned told ‘The Sun’, “You just can’t argue with these people. We’re lucky the plane hadn’t left; otherwise, they told us we’d have to spend the night in a cell. We were totally exhausted by the whole thing, to arrive only to be turned back. It left us both really sick. It’s not good for anyone to be on a plane for that long, let alone when you get to our age. Why they had to send us home for the sake of five minutes on a piece of paper is beyond us.”

What does it say about tourism in Goa then?

When statements like these are made about a major tourist destination in the world, it more than likely leaves a bad impression in people’s minds. Goa and Goans have always been known for a pleasant demeanor and a willingness to help. But in recent years, all that seems to be going down the drain along with the kind of tourists the state is attracting. It is a known fact that a lot of foreigners that loved Goa, are now choosing other holiday destinations in the world for what they believe will be more peaceful and hassle-free holidays.

Information credit – Goa Prism

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