International charter flight services in Goa hit a 12-year-low as number of foreign tourists dwindled as compared to domestic travelers.
As against 895 international charter flights in 2015, Goa’s Dabolim airport witnessed only 463 flights, the lowest since 2003-04.
Subsequently, even the number of chartered travelers dropped by 38.75 percent, with only 98,796 foreign tourists, as against 1.61 lakh passengers, ferried by the same in the previous year.
Besides financial down-turn in eastern Europe, especially in Russia – a major supplier of chartered operator to the state, Goa missed out on joint promotion with the chartered flight operators, said Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).
According to TTAG, operators from Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives; entrants from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, West Indies, West Africa, and Egypt also posed a stiff competition to Goa.
“The charter operators were offered incentives, facilities, marketing support by other destinations, it became cost effective both for the operators and travellers,” spokesperson for TTAG, Ralph Dsouza said.
While earlier in the year, Britain’s Monarch Airlines called-off its charter flights services to Goa, bankruptcy of Russian airlines Transaero’s and its subsequent shutdown affected the state badly.
“These were major charter providers, Transaero alone brought about 35 percent of eastern European travelers,” a TTAG member said.
According to the data by the Goa tourism department, until December 2015, a footfall of 5.41 lakh foreign tourists was registered by the state, which is a meager 5 percent high compared to last year. But TTAG claims that due to the unresolved issues mentioned above it lost an additional 15% of its international tourist potential.
But director of state tourism, Sanjeev C Gauns Dessai says its a wrong to generalise the drop in foreign tourist only in Goa. “This situation is not exclusive to the state but is observed across the country, with major reason being geo-political factors, recession, crises in Ukaraine. Yet, we have good number of Electronic Tourist Visa (ETV) arrivals of 49,645 passengers. The global phenomenon is a temporary phase which may change in months to come,” Dessai added.
On the brighter side, the domestic tourist inflow saw a staggering growth of 34.18 percent with 47.56 lakh passenger compared to the 35.44 lakh in 2014. Even in hospitality sector, such as hotels and dormitories, an occupancy rate of 72 percent was noted. In a nutshell, the state, despite struggling to attract the international segment, it managed to bring about 52.97 lakh tourist until the end of December.
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