Goa tourism industry blames media for fall in tourists

December 17th, 2008 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 17 (IANS) After global recession and the Mumbai terror attacks, the Goan tourism industry has now trained its sights on the media, holding it responsible for the fall in tourist numbers this season.Addressing a press conference, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph D’Souza Wednesday claimed that the constant bad press which Goa had received ever since the first reports of an economic meltdown started trickling in, had created a scare in the minds of the tourists.

“There are times when I learn about the tourism trends from the media, instead of the members of the industry,” D’Souza said, taking a dig at tourism related media reports which talk about Goa’s tourism industry being in the red.

“We are not facing a bad time. After the terror strikes, there were a few cancellations within a few days of the calamity, but fresh bookings poured in later,” D’Souza claimed.

He said while the hotel industry in Goa was currently seeing a 90 percent occupancy, for the New Year the hotels were expected to be choc-a-bloc.

Vinay Albuquerque, scion of the Victor Alcon Albuquerque group that runs several mid-range resorts in various parts of the state, demanded that the media punch in some “positive reports” about Goa, explaining its virtues as a safe tourism destination.

“We need to show that Goa is safe and happening,” Vinay exhorted.

Satish Prabhu, president of the Hotel Owners Association of Panaji, said the media should help the tourism industry in times of crisis.

“We need the media’s help in times of crisis. The media needs to convey a positive image of Goa. If something (a terror strike) is to happen, it will happen. It cannot be stopped,” he claimed.

However, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries vice-chairman Manguirish Pai Raikar was quoted on the website www.ibnlive.com Tuesday as saying: “There has been a dent in the business, the economy has suffered.”

Goa has on offer nearly 30,000 rooms spread across all categories of hotels throughout the state and sees its tourism season peaking during the festive season of Christmas and New Year.

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