The state tourism board is serious about developing the coastal circuit and providing basic tourism infrastructure like public conveniences at key beach locations with an investment of `270 crore (around USD 41 million).
While promoting the state in international markets, Goa’s tourism department has also been simultaneously building on infrastructure and creating new adventure activities. Menino Dsouza, Director of Tourism, Government of Goa, reveals more. He says, “We hope to start full-fledged operations of the Duck Boats as well as new activities like bungee-jumping, Segway tours, and horseriding. Our focus is to develop the coastal circuit and provide public conveniences such as toilets, changing rooms, locker facilities, proper access and parking facilities at key beach locations.” Goa Tourism is also looking at opening tourist information centres on beaches.
All this infrastructure, Dsouza says, will come through the investment that the Centre as well as the state is making. The Union Ministry for Tourism under the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ has sanctioned Rs 200 crore to Goa. While Rs 100 crore has been sanctioned in the first phase, another Rs 100 crore has been sanctioned in the second phase. Coastal areas, both in North and South Goa, will be covered in both phases. “The Goa government is committed on completing the infrastructure projects under this scheme within the next one year. There is also a state component of Rs 70 crore which will be used for tourism infrastructure,” Dsouza adds.
ETV regime Countries on radar
Goa’s new Tourism Policy will also be finalised soon that will give a push to Goa Tourism. Several discussions and meetings have already been conducted in this regard and will be unveiled shortly.
Speaking about the aspect of Goa that the state’s tourism department wants to push in the international markets, Dsouza says, “Goa is a tiny state but stretched over with beautiful beaches, historical sites and wildlife. We promote each and every location of Goa, be it the waterfalls, museums, forts, churches, temples, homestays or our beaches. A variety of elements like monsoon tourism, eco and wellness tourism, cuisine, festival tourism, heritage tourism, adventure tourism and medical tourism are all promoted in international markets.”
Needless to say, the eVisa regime offered at the Goa International Airport in Dabolim extended to 150 countries, has taken off in a big way and is showing good increase in numbers. The state’s tourism department is therefore trying to tap tourists from these 150 countries. “Goa is also growing as a MICE destination and many corporate companies want to host events here. So also many mega sports events are held in Goa by international sports organisations. While we are focusing on key markets in UK, Middle East and South East Asia, we are also reaching out to the entire globe, especially those countries that are under the ETV regime,” Dsouza adds.
Goa continues to participate in key travel and trade fairs, roadshows held in Moscow, London, Berlin and the Middle East. The latest one was the International Trade Fair for Travel & Tourism Forum at OTDYKH 2017 in Moscow.
Goa received a total of 6,80,683 foreign visitors in 2016. This year up to March 2017, the state has already received 3,06,087 international tourists.