Goa to sell 'rain drops'

| 23 May 2000 22:52 IST

After exploiting the whole coastline of golden sand to the fullest extent, Goa now plans to sell 'rain drops' to the nature-loving tourists from the next month.

It's all away from the beaches, though quite pleasant to enjoy the peace and lush green atmosphere in the hinterland of Goa, spread over hardly 60 kms from the coastline.

"In fact it is the best time for any peace-loving person to come down and enjoy the most pleasant period in Goa", says tourism minister Victoria Fernandes. She has taken personal interest in reviving the old proposal, but with new vigour.

Though Goa comes under heavy rainfall zone recording around 270 cms of rainfall compared to the national average of 88 cms, continuous pouring is witnessed only in June and July while August and September are the months of drizzles with lively sunny atmosphere.

"The temperature is tolerable for any person from any part of the world during monsoons here. In fact August and September are the pleasant months, I would say", quips S R Bajpai, director of the local observatory.

Having total focus on beach tourism, four months from June to September are called 'off season' in the tourist state. Last six years have recorded around 26 per cent domestic tourists and hardly eight per cent foreigners in Goa during this time.

The hotels and restaurants, private or the government, slash down its prices during monsoons while tariff of taxis are also much cheaper. The tourism department has now decided to encourage the hoteliers to announce special monsoon packages.

It was the idea floated way back in 1986 to sell rain drops with advertisements released in various parts of India and even abroad to attract tourists during the slack season. "But having recorded only 10 per cent occupancy, we had no option than closing it within four years", says S S Keshkamat, the tourism director.

There were even plans to attract Arabian tourists to Goa, as they keep coming to Bombay even during monsoons. But the department did not encourage it later as the local media expressed fear of getting other vices to Goa along with them.

The perception appears to have changed now, with the tourism department launching its website within a fortnight, focussing on monsoon tourism in order to attract tourists from all over the world, including the Arab countries.

"Our prime focus however would be on green tourism and indoor amusement", says Fernandes. She has even chalked out long-term plans for promoting indoor games like skating, balling, go-karting as well as a race course for Goa.

But what is being offered from the next month is trips to Dudhsagar waterfall, visits to forest-clad spots like sanctuaries of Bondla and Cotigao as well as places like Tambdi Surla and Farmagudi, besides Mandovi river cruise in Panaji.

The plan is to even promote local feast like Sao Joao held on 24 June and Bonderam feast on Divar island across Old Goa held annually in August. The department also plans to arrange special cultural programmes of Goan traditional folk on every Saturday at the Kala Academy complex in Panaji, especially for the tourists.

Though the 'rain drops' would be now promoted world-wide, Keshkamat hopes that the immediate tourist inflow is expected from India, mainly from the states of Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra and places like Delhi from North India.

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