Goa eyes on scheduled flights for more tourists

PTI, PANAJI | 02 February 2010 18:14 IST

Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco launched scheduled flight of Swiss Airlines, along with GCCI President Ceaser Menezes and TTAG President Ralph D'Souza

Goa is down with the number of tourists this season. The tiny tourist state now sees green pasture in the form of scheduled flights linking the world to this tourist heaven in western India.

Goa tourism ministry has said that the increase in the scheduled flights has given flexibility to visitors to decide on their arrival and departure dates.“The visitors used to face difficulty during emergencies as they had to wait for their programmed departure through chartered flight. With the commissioning of scheduled flights, they can leave whenever they want,” state tourism minister, Fransisco Pacheco told reporters here.

The minister was addressing media during launching of scheduled weekly flight operated by Swiss international airlines connecting Goa to Switzerland.

“This is the sixth scheduled flight to be operated from Goa,” he said.

Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), an umbrella organisation representing the industry players, said that the number of tourists arriving from scheduled flight and chartered flight is almost 50:50.

“During 1980s, 80 per cent of the foreign guests used to arrive by chartered flights but now the proportion is fifty-fifty. This is a new sector that is being opened up for tourists and domestic travelers going out of the country,” TTAG Chairman Ralf D’Souza said.

Goa is connected to the world through scheduled flights operated by Indian Airlines, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways, which fly all round the year while trans-Euro, Condor and Swiss airlines operate during the peak tourist season.

D’Souza clarified that there is no much different in ticket tariff between scheduled and chartered flights. “Due to various taxes in Europe and increase in fuel prices, the packages offered by chartered flights have also gone up,” he said.

He said that Goa is a host for balanced market of chartered and free of itinerary travelers, who come by scheduled flights.

Goa’s tourism industry is wading through difficult times. D’Souza said that 13 per cent drops in foreign arrivals registered last year and this time around, the plunge will touch 15 per cent compared to the last year.

He said that lot of attractive packages are offered by the hotels for the tourists although there is no slash in hotel tariff. “The hotel tariffs were rationalised last year and lot of corrections were made. The rates remain same, this time too,” D’Souza, who himself runs a chain of starred hotels in the state, stated.

Goa tourism ministry has said that the increase in the scheduled flights has given flexibility to visitors to decide on their arrival and departure dates.


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