State Affairs

Goa’s gloomy tourism season may continue

PANAJI

With a poor tourist season for Goa and no foreseeable sign of its resurrection, the road ahead is a tough one for the tourism-oriented state, according to top officials of the Russian Information Centre (RIC) in Goa, which aims to foster an atmosphere of confidence for Russian tourists in the beach state.

RIC head Ekaterina Belyakova conceded that the European economic crisis, bankruptcy among tour operators and the Russia-Ukraine conflict had hit Goa’s tourism industry hard, but said that tourism is in regression in the state due to lack of cooperation to solve general infrastructure issues and hygiene and garbage issues that have remained unresolved for years.

“This season was extremely difficult because the crises were not predictable and affected everyone hard. No one in the market was ready for that,” Belyakova told IANS.

Goa’s tryst with Russian tourists started in 2003, when the first charter flight flew in from Russia to the western Indian state, which is also known as one of the country’s best beach tourism destinations.

Since then, Russians from cities like Moscow, St. Petersberg and Yekaterinburg, among others, have upstaged Britons to emerge as the single largest contingent of foreign tourists to Goa. In 2014, 189,486 Russians landed at Goa’s Dabolim airport, while Britain accounted for 129,901 tourists, according to the Economic Survey of Goa report, which also said that over 510,000 tourists from nearly 30 countries landed in Goa that year.

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