Panaji: Goa’s apex body representing tourism stakeholders on Thursday said that there is a drop in foreign tourist arrival during the current season which is far from being salvaged due to drop in chartered flight arrivals.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) President Savio Messias said that the drop in the arrival of foreign tourists is in the range of 20-30 per cent but the actual reduction in the rooms per night is more severe.
He said that the drop in foreign travelers who used to spend fifteen to thirty days in the State after their arrival has resulted in the reduction of rooms per night, which can’t be compensated by domestic travelers who were here for three-four nights holiday.
UK-based Thomas Cook has stopped its chartered flight service affecting the arrivals in the coastal state of Goa. During last season, Thomas Cook was ferrying one flight a day in Goa, carrying around 200 passengers per flight.
He said that German chartered flights TUI has increased their weekly frequency from two to three flights but it has failed to compensate for the loss created due to Thomas Cook shutting down their business.
“There is no complaint about the domestic tourism. It is only the international tourism which is on decline. The foreign travelers are very essential for the industry because the difference is that domestic people spend 3-4 nights, international tourists spent 10-15 days or even longer,” Messias said.
Goa tourism department had expected that the vacuum created due to absence of Thomas Cook flight would be filled with the operations of Air India flights from the UK, but that it has not happened for the current season.
The first chartered flight in Goa had arrived in first week of October from Moscow bringing in Russian travelers.
“Goa government had approached Air India to fly chartered flights to the state. But what we gather is that there has to be lot of lobbying to be done with Air India. I met Air India officials also. They were telling me that they can start a flight but lot of lobbying is required,” Messias said.
“Basically, Air India decisions are sometimes backed by political will. The government has to do some lobbying. Unfortunately, our State tourism minister is not doing that,” he added.
Messias said that the Chartered flight business may revive during next Tourist season as other companies have time to plan for their operations to Goa.
According to government figures, around four lakh foreigners visit the coastal state while total tourists visiting here is approximately 60 lakh.