• Thursday, July 25, 2024


Tourist footfall in India’s Goa reaches 10 million mark: Tourism minister

People flock to Goa during the monsoon as they have realised that the state is not only about the beaches, said Rohan Khaunte in an interview.

Tourists at Baga beach in India’s Goa state. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE number of visitors to Goa has increased in the just-concluded tourist season and touched the one crore (10 million)-mark, the south-western Indian coastal state’s tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has said, dismissing perception of the footfall going down in the state, which is known to be a renowned global tourist destination.

There has also been a rise in the number of international tourists, which is 150 per cent more than the pre-COVID-19 figures, Khaunte told PTI in an exclusive interview in state capital Panaji on Saturday (22).

Goa is governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party of prime minister Narendra Modi.

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He admitted there was competition to Goa from other states in the country as well as international players.

The official tourist season concludes in Goa in June with the onset of monsoon and resumes in September.

Read: Authorities make trekkers do sit-ups in India’s Goa after they risk waterfall adventure in rains

The state has continued to receive tourists even during the monsoon season, Khaunte added.

“In the monsoon, there is 80 per cent occupancy of hotels in Goa. People flock to Goa during the monsoon as they have realised that Goa is not only about the beaches,” he said.

Asked about the perception of there being a dip in the number of tourists to Goa, Khaunte said.

“The footfall has increased. We have touched the mark of 10 million, which is more than the earlier figures,” he said.

Goa still needs to improvise by connecting to new markets, the minister said.

“We have prepared a vision document for the tourism industry which can be implemented only with the active participation of the tourism stakeholders. We have started working towards it,” he said.

Khaunte conceded there is immense competition from various other players, including other Indian states after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative.

“We have to look at this challenge of competition with other states and also international players,” he said.

The minister said one of the challenges is to ensure Goa is not an expensive destination during months such as December.

“The cost of hotels in Goa in December is so high that tourists start looking at other destinations like Thailand, where they can travel with the same budget and still save money,” he said.

The minister said discussions would be initiated with various airlines and the hotel industry to put a cap on their tariffs during the tourist season, including the month of December.

The state has continued to receive tourists even in the rainy season, he said.

“The monsoon is about waterfalls, lush green villages, forests, rural tourism. Monsoon is about going on nature trails,” he said.

Tourists visit villages and realise Goa is much more than its beaches. “This also helps to boost the rural economy,” he added.

(With PTI inputs)

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