Panaji: Goa’s tourism industry has welcomed the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office’s (FRRO) move to allow online registration of foreign guests.
The FRRO in Panaji on Tuesday launched an online initiative, where foreign nationals can now fill the mandatory ‘C’ Form online.
The ‘C’ form is a key document which requires foreigners, under Section three of the Foreigners Act, 1946, to fill up their passport number and other key information for record.
“It is a step in the right direction. We no longer have to manually fill in the form. Foreigners put the form in a sealed envelope and give it to the police station,” spokesperson of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Ralph de Souza said.
Earlier, the responsibility of filling up the form and submitting it to the nearest police station within 24 hours of the arrival rested with the management of the hotel or the host of the foreign guest.
Goa, which receives over three million tourists every year, is the second state after Kerala to start the online ‘C’ Form facility.
According to Section 14(6) of Foreigners Registration Act, 1939, not filling the form is tantamount to violation of visa norms.
Online registration would help effective collation of data related to tourist arrivals in the state and allow police to swiftly learn about the identity of the foreign nationals arriving in their jurisdiction, de Souza said.
“From a tourism perspective too, it will help the department maintain better records of tourists who come, how many days they stay and where they have come from. It will give us an idea on whether our tourism promotion activities are on the right track or not,” de Souza said.
“The police will immediately get information on the people who are checking in. If there are people who have been flagged because of their involvement in drug peddling or in any other crime or even terrorist activity, it will immediately pop up,” he added.