This despite the potential pitfalls of demonetization as well as global uncertainties like that of Brexit, the refugee crisis and others.
Mid way through the season, Goa has seen the arrival of 376 charter flights mostly from Russia followed by the United Kingdom but also from other countries of Europe bringing in 93,743 tourists this season.
The figure is roughly half that of the arrival last year, but with current demand, tourism operators are confident that the arrivals are expected to cross last year’s figures. With the biting cold still sweeping across Europe, the demand for vacations is expected to remain strong.
“Our numbers have been very good this year. There has been an increase in the numbers from Russia and the UK,” Ernest Dias who runs Sita a popular tour operator in Goa told The Goan.
A visit to the coast sees the tourism season in full swing with businesses doing well with foreigners thronging the already crowded coastal belt along Calangute and Candolim. After the height of 2013-14 when a record 1168 charters landed in Goa bringing in more than 2.6 lakh tourists, the following
seasons were subdued owing largely to the political situation in Russia as well as sluggish economic growth around the world.
With the demonetization situation having stabilized, the shock move is not expected to have any impact on the numbers arriving in the State.
“Demonetization as well as the code of conduct did cause hardships to tourists who were already here during the demonetization and the code of conduct. However, since tourists book their tickets well in advance, I do not think it affected the numbers,” Dias said. Charter flights are the backbone of the State’s foreign tourist arrivals with independent foreign travellers few and far in between.
A bulk of the travellers arrive through the year old facility of E-Travel Visa also known as visa on arrival which has considerably reduced the paperwork involved in arriving in the country.
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