06 Dec 2018 06:18am IST
55% drop in charter arrivals in October & November; Russian charters decline, while UK maintains its figures; Questions raised on Goa Tourism’s promotional trips abroad
PANJIM: If the declining trend in charter flight landings continues this month – the peak of the season – the ongoing tourist season could record its lowest foreign tourist arrivals since 2015-16.
Goa has already seen a massive drop in charter flight arrivals since October, compared to the previous two seasons, indicating that the State is not on top of the list of foreign travellers. Adding to the woes, Russian visitors, who have become Goa’s main source of market for the last eight years, have also reduced.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) foresees a further drop in charter arrivals in the coming months. “This winter has been below par than expected. In September, before the season commenced, I had predicted a 30 percent drop in total arrivals but nothing was done to stem the fall. The percentage has now declined to 55 percent and it is alarming. December will be worse. If the trend continues, Goa might record the lowest since 2015-16,” TTAG president Savio Messias informed Herald. Goa received 798 charters in 2015-16.
Data available with Herald shows that 53 charter flights landed at Dabolim international airport in October while the following month saw 230 charters. In the previous year, the landings were 105 and 318 in October and November 2017 respectively. The total passengers have unarguably also declined in comparison with the last season’s corresponding months. The figures reveal that 52,768 international passengers visited Goa in October-November 2018 as against 82,057 during the last corresponding months. The current month expects 139 charter flights, a drop of 40 flights compared to December 2017.
The overall scenario has been quite disappointing for tourism stakeholders. Some charter operators have echoed a similar view, however, the number of visitors from UK are said to be satisfactory in number. “There is no decline in UK flights from October till date. In fact, we have one flight more than last year’s corresponding months. The response is good. As of now, 19 flights of Thomas Cook Airlines and 15 flights of TUI Airways have operated from UK,” Martin Joseph, the chief of Freedom Holidays Pvt Ltd informed Herald.
On the other hand, Russian visitors seem to have chosen an alternative destination considering that some operators handling Russian airlines are not very happy with the arrivals. Melroy D’Costa of Jet Concept firm, which handles Royal flights, lamented that the year has seen only one charter flight daily. “On an average, it’s just one flight daily since October 25. Till date, 46 flights from Russia have landed in Goa bringing 225 passengers. During October-November 2017, we had handled 70 flights and 200 in December 2017. The trend is bad,” he said.
“The total charters have declined by 50 percent.
November has been the worst month and December will also be the same,” said a chief operating officer of another Russian airline handling firm.
The poor response from international visitors has once again raised questions over Goa Tourism’s trips to countries for promotion activities. Herald has earlier reported that tourists from many countries do not have Goa in their traveling itinerary although representatives from the Goa government are repeat visitors to its travel marts annually.
Messias said promotional tours should be handled by professionals rather than non-experts. “Attending travel marts, road shows, etc. should be in the hands of professionals like marketing experts and not politicians or bureaucrats who have no experience. A need for dedicated marketing team for Goa’s promotion overseas is the need,” he said.