More chartered flights from East Europe take off to goa

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Goa tourism
Panaji, Apr 4: Goa Tourism Industry has recorded substantial increase in the tourist arrival through chartered flights from Eastern Europe in the current season.

State tourism director Swapnil Naik said that the Eastern European tourists from countries such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan topped the tally of chartered foreign arrivals in this coastal state.

In the past, the tourists from UK outnumbered others in this regard.

As per the Goa Tourism Department, a total of 781 chartered flights, carrying 1,56,541 travellers from 12 countries landed in Goa since the start of the tourist season in October.

These countries are: UK, Russia, Poland, Germany, Norway, Kazakhstan, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Netherlands and Iran.

"For the first time, Goa has witnessed a marked rise in tourists from Eastern Europe. This is a good trend," said Ralph de Souza, spokesperson for the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).

As many as 392 flights arrived from Russia with 81,437 tourists, compared to 216 flights from UK carrying 50,872 tourists since October.

But D''Souza said actual number of tourists arriving from UK would be higher, because many arrived via Mumbai as the connectivity of flights was better that way, while Russian and other East European travellers preferred chartered route.

Ernest Dias, Vice President, Sita Tours stated that while earlier St Petersburg and Moscow were the key cities from where tourists came, now they came from other Russian cities too. .

December and January see a large number of tourists flocking into Goa, because of the festive season and the new year mood.

Naik stated that almost every year Goa was attracting more tourists than the previous year.

"As far as tourist arrivals are concerned, the year 2010 has seen a significant increase in foreign and domestic tourist visits over 2009, with a 5 per cent jump," he said.

But some conceded that less tourists from Western Europe seemed to be interested in Goa these days.

TTAG spokesman D'Souza said, "Goa is the only holiday destination in India which has enjoyed the highest number of repeat tourists, especially from UK and parts of Western Europe. However, the recession and strict visa norms have impacted the flow of arrivals from these regions.

PTI

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