Goa eyes new tourist markets

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With the English and Russian ventures a success, Goa has now set its sights on new horizons to define its position in the international tourism markets. The state is eyeing new markets in 2009 and South Africa, Portugal and the Middle East are among the destinations that Goa will look to gain a foothold. “These three destinations have been identified as potential markets, which we are looking to tap into this year,” tourism director Swapnil Naik told TOI.

The tourism industry also says that Goa would do well to tap into the large population of expatriates in the Middle East. “They have long holidays during festivals, where the expats head off to places like Cyprus etc. We should look at marketing Goa to this segment in the Middle East as well,” Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph de Sousa said.

However, much will depend on the pricing if this potential segment is to consider Goa for a holiday, points out TTAG vice president Ernest Dias.

“European expats in the Gulf prefer closer destinations like Turkey. It has a lot to do with pricing too, as it is much cheaper for them. If we want to attract tourists from the Middle East, we have to have more nightlife,” he said.

Senior officials in the tourism ministry however, said that the government is still debating over considering the Middle East population, as the taste factor of those tourists is not necessarily sun and sand. “Those tourists may want more than just sun and sand sex as well. We are considering whether to go ahead with tapping this market as we do not want to project Goa as such a type of holiday destination,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

Expecting regular charters from South Africa, Portugal and the Middle East also would be a little far-fetched given the global recession and the state could expect to draw the free-of-itinerary or group travellers, Dias said.

The government is also working out the feasibility of marketing Goa in South Africa. “South Africa already has beaches, so we are looking at other aspects to draw the South African tourist. We did have our first road show there last year, but did not really see the results. We are working on opening that market this year,” tourism director Naik said.


One Comment

  1. I am intending to travel from the UK with my wife for a holiday to Goa at the end of March. I have today so far spent more than three very frustrating hours on my computer keyboard, attempting to fill out on line my visa application with NO success. I now learn from my travel agent that my problems are far from unique!
    If India is genuinely serious about growing its tourism industry, surely it must sort out this most basic of issues.
    To add insult to injury, I also find that to telephone the High Commission’s Visa Agent in London about this, I can only do so using a premium rate telephone number costing £1 per minute!!!
    Wake up and smell the coffee, India! This will be my first and long awaited visit to your country (If I ever get there!). I am sure you have a lot to offer to tourists like us – just don’t make it so difficult, eh?

    1. Graham Trimmer on January 31st, 2009 at 10:20 pm

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