“The fall in numbers only show that the stunts and facades and upstart tricks of the tourism department are counterproductive, a gigantic waste of peoples money and profits for the crony capitalists – perhaps kickbacks to those who commission the nonsense”
State receives just 463 Charters till date against 895 last season
The State has clocked only 463 Charter flights this season until February as against 895 it had welcomed the whole last season with insiders saying that it was doubtful the final figure would touch 500 before the end of the season.
The 463 Charter flights brought in 98,796 foreign tourists mainly from Russia around half the 1,61,316 charter tourists who flew into the State in 2014-15.
“It is without doubt a result of a downturn in the Russian economy and the consequent devaluation of the Rouble. Once a currency devalues versus the dollar, it becomes difficult to travel,” Ernest Dias who runs a popular travel agency dealing with the Russian Charters said.
“Even during the downturn, the largest number of tourists coming in are Russians,” he added to demonstrate how large and powerful the Russian travellers are.
Goa has come a long way from the 24 charter flights it received during the year 1985-86 when 24 charters flew in bringing 3568 tourists leading to a steady stream of foreigners into the State which peaked in 2013-14 when 1128 Charters flew in bringing in 2.61 lakh tourists. The State has never been able to match the 2013-14 figures with this year’s figures being the lowest in 2002-03 when the State received 384 charters bringing in 94,350 tourists.
The tourism industry has been imploring the government to reduce taxes as well as to offer incentives to individual travel agents per tourist they bring in, in order to boost the industry.
“We are facing stiff competition from our neighbouring tourist destinations like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Philippines, Singapore due to their lower taxation, lower visa fees, lower airport fees, incentives and better infrastructure etc. Even a domestic tourist finds it cheaper to go to the South East Asia rather than come to Goa. The overall average taxation in Goa is around 38 per cent, which pushes up the cost of a holiday in Goa in comparison to these destinations,” the TTAG had said in a representation to the Chief Minister.
“Worldwide the Charters are given incentives and brochures and marketing support is offered by destinations worldwide by countries competing with Goa, like Turkey, Greece, Maldives, Sri Lanka and SouthEast Asia. We need to allocate a separate fund in this budget for this purpose which will increase the dormant figure of 0.5 million foreign visitors into Goa, to 1 million visitors,” TTAG’s Francisco de Bragança had said.
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