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http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/economy/article1599313.ece

4 April 2011

Panaji:
Goa tourism industry has recorded substantial increase in the tourist arrivals through chartered flights from Eastern Europe in the current season.

The Eastern European tourists from countries such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan topped the tally of chartered foreign arrivals in the coastal state, the State Tourism Director, Mr Swapnil Naik, said.

In the past, tourists from the UK outnumbered others in this regard.

According to the Goa Tourism Department, a total of 781 chartered flights, carrying 1,56,541 travellers from 12 countries landed in Goa since the start of the tourist season in October last year.

A GOOD TREND

The UK, Russia, Poland, Germany, Norway, Kazakhstan, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Netherlands and Iran are the countries from where tourists came in chartered flights.

“For the first time, Goa has witnessed a marked rise in tourists from Eastern Europe. This is a good trend,” said Mr Ralph de Souza, spokesperson for the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).

As many as 392 flights arrived from Russia with 81,437 tourists, compared to 216 flights from the UK carrying 50,872 tourists since October last year.

CONNECTIVITY

But Mr D'Souza said the actual number of tourists arriving from the UK would be higher, because many arrived via Mumbai as the connectivity of flights was better that way, while Russian and other East European travellers preferred the chartered route.

Mr Ernest Dias, Vice-President, Sita Tours, stated that while earlier St Petersburg and Moscow were the key cities from where tourists came, now they came from other Russian cities too.

December and January see a large number of tourists flocking to Goa because of the festive season and New Year.

Mr Naik said that almost every year Goa has been attracting more tourists than the previous year.

ARRIVALS RISE 5%

“As far as tourist arrivals are concerned, the year 2010 has seen a significant increase in foreign and domestic tourist visits over 2009, with a 5 per cent jump,” he said.

But some conceded that fewer tourists from Western Europe seemed to be interested in Goa these days.

Mr D'Souza said, “Goa is the only holiday destination in India which has enjoyed the highest number of repeat tourists, especially from the UK and parts of Western Europe. However, the recession and strict visa norms have impacted the flow of arrivals from these regions.