AI plans Arabian Nights in Goa

| 10 October 2002 22:03 IST

Arabian nights - of a different kind - could be a reality in Goa, if the Air India really succeeds in selling rain drops in India during monsoons to the Middle East countries, making Goa the gateway.

There is yet another attempt now to attract Arab tourists during the three-month slack period - from June to August. But it's different this time, as the package tours would combine several states together, on two different circuits.

A preliminary plan in this regard was discussed here with the eight-member delegation of tour operators from Middle East countries like Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait, at the initiative of Goa-based union minister of state for civil aviation Shripad Naik.

Landing in Goa, the package charters could either choose the southern circuit of Karnataka and Kerala or the northern circuit of Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. Naik plans to convene a joint meeting of all the state tourism ministers by December to discuss the proposals.

The Middle East tour operators in fact expressed surprise why the peaceful and equally beautiful places like Goa were not marketed properly to the high-spending Gulf tourists when they regularly visit Mumbai, either for business or to seek medical treatment.

Though Gulf tourists are normally fly to the USA or European countries, many of them are now also searching for new locations, which provide beaches, water sports, medical treatment and amusement, observed the delegation members.

"In fact Goa is the most ideal location for them", stated A Rehman Muftah, the MD of Three Stars Travel Qatar. The peaceful state with idyllic surroundings also provides safe nightlife, music and cultural programmes in the coastal five star hotels, he added.

Getting impressed with the natural beauty and peace in the tiny coastal state, Nasser M Al-Arayedh, director of Nasser Travel of Bahrain, wondered why the state was not promoted aggressively like Kerala.

Orchid Raikhan, the Air India manager in Bahrain and Jordan, felt that little change of the mindset of the Gulf tourists could easily attract them to India. In addition, he also pointed out that many Americans and Europeans settled in the Middle East could also benefit from these package tours.

If all goes well, said Raikhan, the package tours could begin from the next monsoons, selling rain drops in India to the rich Arabs.

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