This question is very genuine and a lot concerned with the tourism scenario of Goa. It is the fact though Goa is showing lots of enthusiasm for welcoming the Russian crowd coming to Goa which is the major proportion of the tourist coming to Goa for the past few years. In fact, lots of businesses have changed their style of operation to accommodate the demands of the Russian tourist coming to Goa. But still at the back of the mind of every vendor there is only one thing how to get the “British Tourist” back? Some have even claimed that due to increase in Russian tourist inflow has been the main reason behind the slowing down of British Tourist while the others claims its due to the slowdown in British economy which hampered the flow of British tourism to Goa.
This subject has been inspired with the article written by Pamela D’Mello in BBC news where she says that Goan tourism is longing for the British tourists by giving the example of the Betty’s place restaurant in south Goa which is waiting for the October sun rise and the charter flights which will bring with it more customer’s to his seafood restaurant. And his hope is placed on the return of the British tourists to Goa.
According to him, the British tourists are more adventurous and they prefer to go out every day and want to try out the different activities. They also love the dolphin backwater cruises and bird watching, he also recollects the time when the UK tourists were supposed be the largest base of the tourist coming to Goa. According to the owner of Betty’s Place owner Mr. Barreto the recession hit the British tourists and his business as well.
This is not just a story of Barretto alone, but there are many businessmen in Goa those who are missing the British tourist in Goa. Dental professional and Dental Businessman in Goa had British tourists as one of the most lucrative customers visiting their establishments, but now those businesses have been closed down and few Dentists have been left doing their work in the Calangute area. According to the source, year 1990 was the peak point in Goa’s tourism history when 1,90,000 Britons headed towards the Goa for fortnight seaside vacation just before the 9/11 event which created the security issues which hit the global travel sector badly.
The trend changed in 2014 when Goa witnessed the huge flow of Russian tourists visiting Goa which was much beyond the 129,000 British tourists visiting the state in same year making it the biggest chunk of Goa’s overall foreign visitors which had touched to 513,000 tourists as published by the Economic Survey of Goa. but this year Goa has realized that the Russian market has faced the recession due to the fall of the rouble and low oil price which has hit on the Russian economy.
Waking up to the need of business TTAG (Travel and Tourism Association of Goa) Goa’s tourism trade body and state level marketing committee is now thinking of setting up of facility to bring the British Tourist and other European tourists back to Goa. The following issue was raised in Goa assembly in the Monsoon session when the Calangute legislator Micheal Lobo blamed the rising theft, murder of scarlet keeling in Goa and Goa’s stagnant garbage issue is the reason behind Britons withdrawal from Goa.
Another reason behind the radical drop in British visitor is the Visa issue which had made stringent in India after the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008 whereby the single entry Visa was replaced by the multiple entry ones which resulted into long queue in front of the embassies.
TTAG along with Department of Tourism has been making all the efforts by implementing the new schemes such as starting of E-Visa and Visa-on-Arrival facilities to the visitors of UK, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. It has petitioned the authorities to reduce the Visa fees from $62 for a month’s visit from its earlier fees of $163 for the British visitors. The government had also rolled back the aircraft landing fees and managed to arrange the extra slots per week for the landing of the Thomas Cook aircrafts which brings British tourist to Goa. “This became possible only after an in-depth study and presentation of the economic developments to the tourism ministry”, said the TTAG spokesman Ralph de Souza.
Now that everything is set to welcome the most sought after British tourists back to Goa the question is whether Goa will be able to woo back the two-week vacationer? The Monarch Holidays situated in Britain is already making efforts to convince the holiday seekers by promoting the reduced visa fees to British tourists for Goa holidays. Guitry Velho the General Manager of south Goa-based luxury resort, Heritage Village Club has pointed out that “We have the majority of British tourists coming and staying with us for minimum of 14 nights and they appreciate what we provide them”. Prominent hotelier and TTAG head Francisco Braganza said that “According to the feedback, British tourists are the most preferred guests that every hotelier and restaurant owner looks forward to having with them”.
All said and done now it’s time to welcome the most preferred tourists back to Goa which perhaps help to improve our economy which is sinking by the day. Goa is been dependent on two major businesses to generate the revenue first was the mining and second tourism. Now that the mining is started taking shape back again and tourism is also having lots of positive feedback coming from its stakeholders overall the coming financial year seems to be ending with huge profits. Besides this we have to also look forward to welcoming our guests with a smile which needs to carry on by all the defendants on this tourism industry that includes the taxi operators which is facing maximum criticism from the tourist. Now that you know why Goa needs the British tourist coming back to our state let the action speak more than the words. Please do not forget to leave your comments and suggestions on this issue.
Source: BBC News
Original Article was written by Pamela D’Mello
Re-written and Edited by Rajesh Ghadge