Goa tourism looks towards Israel with hope (Goa Newsletter)

Panaji, May 17 (IANS) When Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar travels to Israel next month, he will be hoping to persuade its tour and travel companies to add the popular beach tourism-oriented state to their itineraries.

“We are going to be speaking to the tour operators there and asking them to work out a few chartered flights from Israel to Goa. There is much we have to offer,” Parulekar told IANS.

Attracted by Goa’s beaches, night-life and its reputation as a recreation hub, Israeli tourists, specifically youth, have been visiting the state after completing their stint in the armed forces.

The trend, however, is on the decline with the increasing popularity of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand among young Israeli travellers as these destinations are cheaper, cleaner and relatively better managed than Goa.

Parulekar said the launch of Israeli chartered flights would help achieve a balance in the inflow of international tourists to the state.

Goa is currently witnessing Russian chartered companies virtually monopolising the tourism trade. Last year, 742 chartered flights from Russian cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg landed in Goa carrying nearly 100,000 tourists. Britain came a poor second with 152 chartered flights arriving in the state.

Parulekar also said the Goa government was keen on promoting the state as a holistic tourism destination and not just peddle its beaches to visitors, adding there was much to learn from Israel in this regard.

“We are trying to develop hinterland tourism too. Considering the manner in which Israel has managed its countryside tourism, there is a lesson for us to learn,” Parulekar said.

He added that the members of the delegation, which also includes Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza, would be studying the hinterland tourism concept with the Israeli authorities.

Goa is one of the leading tourism destinations in the country. Last year, 2.7 million tourists landed in Goa, of whom 450,000 were foreigners.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at [email protected])

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.