Goa harpes on event-tourism

| 17 September 2002 22:05 IST

Rather than simply selling idyllic beaches, greenery and Feni, Goa is now entering into the arena of event-tourism, by hosting several national and international sports and infotainment events in the coastal state.

It includes the most ambitious plan to make the tiny western coastal state a permanent venue for the international film festivals.

To begin with, however, Goa this year is hosting the World Junior Chess championship for a fortnight, little before Christmas, in the month of December.

"We will support any event that will project Goa as a tourist destination", states chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

With the state support, the international hash championship is already taking off by month end in South Goa, where most of the five star hotels are located along Asia's longest coastline.

Goa has however literally fought to score over Kerala and West Bengal and earn the right to host the World Junior Chess championship, from December 8 to 21, at Cidade de Goa Resort, near Panaji. Over 136 countries are expected to participate in the event.

Following this, Goa is also organising a weeklong international export marine product exhibition in February, pulling down almost 10,000 exporters. "We expect around 40,000 visitors from all over the globe", states Parrikar.

Though Goa was also hit by the post-11 September recession last year, the coastal state still recorded nearly nine per cent growth in the tourist arrivals. But it was mainly due to 15 per cent rise in domestic tourists against 11 per cent drop in foreign arrivals.

As such political and economic factors keep on affecting the tourism industry here, Parrikar hopes that event-tourism could help sustainability of the hospitality sector, as Goa is otherwise considered a safe and peaceful destination.

Exploiting his clout with the central leaders like information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj, the state BJP chief minister has strongly bid to make Goa a permanent centre to host international film festivals, on the lines of Cannes.

While national capital is becoming the last choice to host the film festivals due to the place becoming the seat of power with contingent of ministers and bureaucratic delays, the states are also not coming forward to host it as it becomes a central government affair at the cost of state resources.

"But it will help Goa tremendously as this is a favourite hub of foreign tourists", feels Parrikar. He expects the event-tourism to promote Goa on the international map with a wide media coverage, while also providing it as a security measure for sustainable tourism.

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