New Goa tourism 'fourmula' for success

The smallest state from India will soon form a four-state tourism combination to entice high-end spenders, according to Ameya Abhyankar, the director of the department of tourism.

By Ramdas R. Volvoikar

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Published: Fri 15 May 2015, 11:49 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:23 AM

Dubai — Alarmed by a dip in tourists’ inflow this season and also to counter the likely after-effects of a possible tie-up between Kerala and Sri Lanka, the Indian state of Goa has chalked out a strategy: Get itself into a partnership.

Goa has been promoting itself as a tourism destination in Dubai. — Supplied photo

The smallest state from India will soon form a four-state tourism combination to entice high-end spenders, according to Ameya Abhyankar, the director of the department of tourism.

“Goa government has held talks with the tourism development boards of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to formulate a joint policy to promote their various tourism facets. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled soon that will also see participation of various stakeholders from the quartet states to chalk out promotional activities. We are taking into confidence all the tourism stakeholders and we hope to come out with a policy by November,” Abhyankar told the Khaleej Times at a recent event in Dubai.

Kerala and Sri Lanka are set to forge an alliance to promote their tourism activities, and it will pose a challenge to Goa. “Unless we take necessary action, Goa might lose their visitors to Kerala and Sri Lanka. We have therefore decided to form a four-state circuit. We plan to draw foreign tourists to world heritage sites like Ajanta-Ellora in Maharashtra, Hampi in Karnataka and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. Goa does not compete with these three states in terms of what it has to offer to the tourists and its a win-win situation for us. Foreign tourists normally come on month-long tours and Goa being a small state they feel there is not much to see after a fortnight or so. And this joint initiative will convince them of having a fun-filled trip of a longer duration,” explained Abhyankar.

Goa pins high hopes on UAE visitors

Dubai — Goa is looking to attract more visitors annually from the UAE as a part of its tourism expansion plan.

“Goa had 3,878 visitors from the UAE in 2014 and hopes to double it this year,” said Ameya Abhyankar, the director of the department of tourism in Dubai.

It used the recent Arabian Travel Market (ATM) platform to promote itself as a destination for adventure, yoga and wellness tourism in a bid to attract tourists from the Middle East during the monsoon season from June-October 2015. In the weeks to come, Goa will be launching amphibious vessels, hot air balloons and sea planes to attract adventure-seeking travellers. “Goa is a 365-day destination. The monsoons bring out the true and hidden natural beauty of Goa and will be truly appreciated by our esteemed friends from the Middle East. Also, they may want to take a break from the hot weather and soak in the rains to refresh and rejuvenate themselves,” explained Abhyankar.

Earlier, Gavin Dias, general manager, Goa Tourism Development Corporation, made a comprehensive presentation on Goa’s myriad tourism products encompassing heritage tourism, wellness tourism, culture, monuments, festivals, hinterland and cuisine.

— ramdas@khaleejtimes.com

A striking 25 per cent dip in the arrivals of Russians this tourist season has compelled Goa to sit up and take notice. The drop in Russian visitors, who made up for nearly 60 per cent of all charter tourists to Goa in 2013, can be attributed to the depreciation of rouble this year.

Goa now wants to attract visitors from all parts of the world instead of focusing only on one country. Goa recorded 5,13,592 arrivals from more than 30 nations in 2014, an increase of 21,270 compared to 2013 despite a significant decline in the number of arrivals from US, Lithuania and Czech Republic. But a steep rise of tourists from France, UAE, Japan and Iran kept Goa officials visibly happy.

“The recent visa-on-arrival programme will offset the fall in tourism numbers. Visitors from 26 countries availed this facility as between December 4, 2014, and March 15; 12,639 visas were issued at Goa airport,” Abhyankar pointed out.

Goa has bagged several awards during the last five months to put more spotlight on the tourist destination, which is known for its time-honoured ‘susegad’ tradition’, or the famous relaxed, laid-back way of life, as a Goan calls it.

The Preferred Leisure Destination, Best Wedding and Honeymoon destination, Best Beach Destination were some of the awards which came Goa’s way, but the icing on the cake is getting global recognition as a “ safe tourism destination” by National Geographic that placed Goa at the sixth spot in ‘Top 10 Nightlife Cities’ list.

In National Geographic’s ‘Top 10 Nightlife Cities’ list, Dublin in Ireland took the top spot, followed by Belgrade in Serbia, La Paz in Bolivia, Sao Paulo in Brazil, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Goa In India, Ibiza in Spain, Houston in Texas, Thessaloniki in Greece and Baku in Azerbaijan. “This awards go a long way in giving Goa more prominence and drawing more travellers to the state,” commented Abhyankar.

Goa is also putting things in order to curb illegalities in the tourism sector. “We will completely revise the existing legislations, Tourists Trade Act and Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act to add teeth to the laws to deal with offences like littering beaches, tourist spots and drinking on beaches. The process of revising the two legislations has already started and they will be tabled in the monsoon of the Goa assembly,” Abhyankar said.

The official emphasised the importance of road shows. “Road shows play a major role in promoting any tourist destination as they create outbound awareness and this information comes from the offices of travel consultants. We do around eight road shows every year and they bring lots of foreign tourists,” Abhyankar added.

 — ramdas@khaleejtimes.com



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