While expressing worries over the decreasing foreign visitors, Goa's tourism body in its recommendations has suggested various measures to the state government to boost tourism. Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), an apex tourism body in the state, after holding several consultative meeting prepared a 'white paper' which was submitted to state Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Thursday.
The suggestion includes reduction in taxes which makes the Indian coastal state, an expensive destination. The detailed white paper points out that the financial year 2018-19 saw a 50 per cent decline in Russian charter flights and 62,000 lesser Russian tourists in 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18. In the period from 2017-18, airport arrival and departure figures saw a decline of more than 21 per cent, it states adding that "while domestic tourism has seen an upswing of 25 per cent to 30 per cent, the appreciable drop in average room rates and occupancies across Goa, indicates a fall in the quality of domestic tourism."
The apex body also mentioned that there is also a sharp drop in the number of charter flights which arrived in Goa from 1,128 in 2013 to 840 now. Pointing out to the problem areas, the white paper states the sudden unorganised boom in the growth of the unregulated bed and breakfast and homestay facilities has led to an unhealthy surge in oversupply of accommodation for tourists, disrupting pricing levels, which has impacted the hospitality industry. There is no adequate infrastructure which can host large scale MICE events with a capacity of over 3,000 guests. The largest banquet facility in a starred hotel can host a maximum of 1,000 guests, it adds.
TTAG said that there is a lack of entertainment avenues for tourists, apart from beaches with an over-reliance on beaches and no serious effort to diversify Goas tourism offering bouquet. High taxes, visa fees make Goa an expensive tourism destination - drop visa fees, rationalise tax to make tourism products cheaper, the association said. TTAG has also said that there is lack of incentives for charter tour operators and there is need to revive glory days of charter tourism by incentivising operators.
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