Tourist inflow on rise, but industry downhearted

| 23 March 1998 23:12 IST

Goa has created a new record with around 1.2 million tourists visiting the tourist state in one year. But neither the government nor the hoteliers are happy about it.

Naming it as a "low budget and cheap tourism", they describe it as counter-productive.

There are however still no plans chalked out for high quality tourism. The master plan for sustainable tourism is still under preparation.

Competing with Goa's 1.2 million population, the year 1997 registered a record figure of 1.19 million tourists visiting the state. It included a large number of domestic tourists as well as foreigners, including the charter tourists.

Around 65,000 more tourists visited the state from January to December '97, indicates the official statistical data. Though no figures of last two months are in hand, large number of tourists are still seen roaming on the streets here, unlike in the past.

No doubt the number of foreign tourists increases every year, but also shows a steep decline in the annual growth rate. Compared to the growth rate that had declined to the lowest figure of 3.49 per cent in '96, it has now risen to 10.31 per cent, first time in last five years.

Frequent fluctuations including minus marks was a normal feature for four years since '85. Only 78,000 foreigners visited Goa in '91, pushing down the minus mark of decline to 25 per cent. But it suddenly shot up to 1.21 lakh the following year, indicating the growth rate of 55 per cent.

The number has now zoomed up to around 2.62 lakh, out of which around 78,000 are charter tourists alone. The charter season, from October '97 to February '98, has recorded the figure to around 67,000, a rise of around 1600 more foreigners and 25 more charter flights.

The UK still dominates the charter scene, with 174 flights arriving in last five months, followed by 22 from Scandinavian countries including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Finland etc.

Besides 17 flights each from Switzerland and Germany, 16 flights also arrived from Holland this year, while 83 Americans also landed here once in October.

After the UK, Holland is now the next target of charter operators. Goa would now have two charters landing at Dabolim air port every week from October onwards, for the next two years.

"But these are cheap tourists and do not benefit Goa in a big way", states U D Kamat, the state tourism director.

According to him, most of these low budget tourists from London are offered weekly package of around 150 pounds, putting them up in rent-back-facility flats or holiday homes rather than any hotels. "It provides no business to the hotels nor the restaurants", complains Kamat.

"The domestic tourists is no different case They use state-sponsored mobile toilets, cook in an open space and sleep in the buses. How will we benefit from it", asks the state tourism director. Goa annually receives around 80 per cent domestic tourists.

Officially, over nine lakh domestic tourists visited Goa this year, recording an annual growth of 4.5 per cent with an additional 40,000 more Indians visiting the golden beaches of Goa. The number is remarkable as the decline in the growth rate is reversed for the first time since '95.

But local hoteliers do not prefer busloads of South Indian tourists coming to Goa with a mobile kitchen. North Indian is the favourite tourist here nowadays. Obviously, series of Punjabi and Gujarati restaurants have mushroomed in the major towns here in last two years.

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image


Tourism