Unrest in Egypt makes foreign tourists turn to Goa

Panaji, Feb 19 (PTI) The unrest in countries like Egyptand Tunisia is working in favour of tourism in Asiandestinations including Goa, officials said here today addingthat the arrival of foreign tourists has gone up by 15 percent.

Goa''s Tourism Director Swapnil Naik told PTI that theroom occupancy in the state has gone up by 15 per cent sincethe trouble started in Egypt and expect the trend to continuefor the rest of the year.

Naik said that a section of the travellers who had plansto visit destinations like Egypt and Tunisia are now headingto Goa and other popular spots in Asia.

Naik said that the state government was in talks withunion Home Ministry to relax visa norms for the tourists whohad to cancel their Egypt trip following massive publicprotests there against the Mubarak regime.

Ralf de Souza, spokesman for Travel and TourismAssociation of Goa (TTAG), an umbrella organisation of touroperators and hoteliers, said that the tour operators werescouting for newer options when they had to cancel trips toEgypt.

He said that the central government should not bestubborn and relax visa norms so that the tourism industry canreap the benefits.

Goa receives around 24 lakh tourists annually, of which4 lakh are foreigners.

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