Goa urges tourists to stay on, assures safety

November 28th, 2008 - 4:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Nov 28 (IANS) Apprehending a dip in tourists following the terror attacks in neighbouring Mumbai, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and state Home Minister Ravi Naik have made a joint appeal to visitors against leaving its sunny beaches, insisting all steps were being taken to ensure their safety. “There’s no need to panic in light of the terror strikes in Mumbai. We are taking all steps possible to ensure the safety of tourists,” Kamat said.

With Goa’s tourism industry already reeling under the effects of the global financial crisis, the attacks in Mumbai, which include two luxury hotels, could spell more bad news.

The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), an agency of tourism industry stakeholders, said the situation was disconcerting.

“We are concerned about the situation and are expecting a drop in the tourist arrivals,” TTAG vice president Ernest Dias told reporters.

Gaurish Dhond, spokesperson for the Goa Hoteliers and Restaurant Owners Association (GHROA), told IANS: “The occupancy was already down by nearly 20 percent as compared to last year. The five star hotels had already lowered their tariff, which had further affected our occupancy.”

Elvis Gomes, managing director of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation, also stressed that while one could not wish away the current recessionary trend, the Mumbai terror strikes would result in a further drop in tourist numbers.

“It will impact tourism in Goa,” he claimed, but did not elaborate further.

Moreover, the travel advisory issued by Britain, asking its nationals not to travel to Mumbai is also expected to take a toll on foreign tourist arrivals in Goa.

“In most cases Mumbai is considered as a natural transit point for those wishing to travel to Goa. With UK nationals being advised against visiting Mumbai, the incoming traffic will drop drastically,” a GTDC official added.

Goa attracts nearly 50,000 foreign tourists in the months of October to March, with nearly 40 percent of them being British.

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