Panaji, Dec 19: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the number of tourists visiting his home state Goa has risen almost five-fold to six million compared to year 2000. "Today almost six million tourists come to Goa. When I took over as chief minister in 2000, total 12 lakh tourists were arriving in the state," Parrikar said while addressing a Vijay Sankalp rally in South Goa's Dabolim constituency today.
Parrikar's first term as CM kasted between 2000-2002 and second time between March 9, 2012 to November 8, 2014 before he was appointed as Defence Minister. "Within four years (from 2000), the number of tourists rose to 26 lakh. (However) during the seven-year rule of the Congress (2004-2011) only 50,000 tourists were added," he said. Parrikar recalled that he had announced tourism will grow to six million a year after taking charge as CM. "I am happy to inform you that this year six million tourists will be arriving in Goa," the BJP leader said.
Parrikar said no one should worry about the future of Dabolim airport. "Goa's tourism growth is so much that we will have to carry on with Dabolim airport even after commissioning of Mopa airport. Dabolim airport will continue working full scale," he said, adding the need for a greenfield airport at Mopa was felt as Dabolim airport is overloaded and new flights cannot be permitted. "The current capacity of airport is 2.8 million.
So two airports can comfortably work in Goa," he added. Meanwhile, he congratulated Army for conducting Operation Vijay to liberate Goa from the Portuguese rule on this day in 1961. "I express my greetings to all the freedom fighters who sacrificed to liberate Goa on this day from Portuguese rule," Parrikar said, addding the Army had played a pivotal role in liberating Goa which had been under the Portuguese rule for 450 years before it was liberated on December 19, 1961.