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May 03, 2012

Goa Gears Up For 'Raindrop' Tourism


03 May 2012

  In a bid to make Goa an all-season tourist destination, the state government is readying to woo tourists to its waterfalls and lush forests in the monsoon season.

Usually, the sea gets rough during the rainy season and visitors are advised to stay away from beaches following which there is a drop in the number of travellers to the state. But now, waterfalls rushing down the hills in Western Ghats, lush green forest lands and inland waterways are being looked upon as an alternative for beaches, which receive maximum footfalls in non-monsoon months.

State Tourism minister Dilip Parulekar said the government is now planning to develop waterfalls as tourist destinations. A master-plan is being prepared so that these places are made accessible for the visitors.

Mr Parulekar said the beaches get shut during monsoons leading to a lean season.

"We want to change the concept that Goa is only for beaches. We have more variety of destinations to offer for the travellers," he said.

The foreign tourists usually pack-up for their homes during monsoons. The state is then entirely dependent on the domestic crowd.

"Domestic tourists love to be with nature. We will provide them all the facilities so that they have a reason to arrive in Goa," he said.

The Ambolim waterfall in Maharashtra and the Dudhsgar waterfall on the Goa-Karnataka border are prime attraction during monsoons.

Mr Parulekar said that Goa has the likes of Ambolim at several places in rural talukas, which can be explored for tourism purposes.

The state government has already announced 50 per cent concession in luxury tax to hotels, which will help them to work out attractive monsoon packages.

Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) spokesman Ralf D'Souza said that last year, the occupancy was somewhere around 60 per cent during the lean season. This year, he said, the occupancy is expected to increase due to lower pricings.