The Asian Age
Panaji, Feb 6, 2010: Tourist traffic to Goa is down 15 % , but visitors from
Russia have registered an upward graph, according to tourism
officials. Holiday makers from Russia heading to Goa are rising this
season, with numbers overtaking the British charter tourist market,
until recently, the largest number from any one country to holiday
Despite the much hyped strained relations over crime in Goa, a total
of 142 flights from three Russian cities have touched down at Dabolim
since October 2009 until January end, bringing over 35,000 Russians.
This year flights from former Soviet republics Estonia and Kazakhstan
also began carrying planeloads to Goa.
“The Russian tourist base has far overtaken those from the UK, which
is hit hard by the recession.” says tourism director Swapnil Naik.
Less than a hundred flights from the UK arrived in Goa this year.
In a recessionary year though, the price of fortnightly packages from
Russia were pre-negotiated at depressed prices, with hotels selling
star category rooms for as low as Rs 200 a day, and tour operators
offering cheap deals to Russian agencies.
The only silver lining tor the region’s tourist industry this year, is
the slow shift over from package charter flights to scheduled flight
arrivals into Goa. “Until recently 80 % of foreign visitors came in
via chartered flights for fixed stay packages. Now this has evened out
to 50 % arrivals via regular flights like the newly opened Qatar
Airways, Air Arabia, Sri Lankan Airways and just launched Swiss Air
flights”, says Naik. This is seen as a good sign for the region’s
tourism, reducing dependency on mass markets to more committed and