PORVORIM: Arrival of foreign tourists in Goa registered a rise of 138.69 per cent as of November 2023 compared to 2022, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said on Wednesday.
He was replying to a starred question tabled by MLAs Adv Carlos Alvares Ferreira and Vijai Sardesai in the Legislative Assembly.
The Minister said that total tourist arrivals in the State in 2023 are estimated to be 80.48 lakh indicating an increase of 17.9 per cent over the previous year,
“As of November last year, 4.03 lakh foreign tourists have arrived in Goa. The arrivals of domestic tourists too have seen a rise. In 2019, the year that saw the Covid-19 pandemic disrupt the entire world economy, there were 71.27 lakh domestic tourists. Up to November 2022, domestic tourist arrivals in Goa were 72 lakh,” Khaunte pointed out.
Khaunte reiterated that the government was strategising, promoting, and marketing initiatives of Goa tourism across the world due to the war involving Russia. It was a setback to the government and so was the conflict in Israel, he pointed out. This had prompted the government to explore other avenues such as France and other parts of Europe.
These initiatives, he asserted were not ‘junkets’ as alleged by the Opposition, but sincere efforts of the government to connect with businesses and other stakeholders to attract them to India. It was with this intention that the government was participating in international events such as the World Travel Market.
“Goa was among the few States in India or even the world to recover from the impact of Covid-19 because of the series of initiatives taken by the government,” he stressed.
Khaunte invited members of the Opposition to join the government in these initiatives so that they could see for themselves the networking that the department of tourism was doing.
Among the initiatives being promoted by the department of tourism are spiritual tourism, cultural tourism, eco-tourism and conference tourism.
Earlier, Sardesai had demanded a pre-audit of foreign tours undertaken by the department of tourism and to stop participation in tourism trade abroad.
The Minister said that as per the officers report who attended the ITB Asia trade show in Singapore in October 2022, was a good opportunity to showcase Goa on a global platform after a gap of two years and tap the new business and network opportunities in Asia's financial hub.