Experts to draw calendar promoting tourism globally

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Stung with the criticism heaped on it during the Assembly session, the Tourism Ministry seems to be getting its act together by proposing to constitute a panel of experts who will decide on a calendar of events for promoting Goa Tourism internationally and nationally.
Ministry level sources say that the panel of experts would assist the tourism department in choosing destinations both within and outside India that need to be tapped and accordingly, plan participation at trade and travel marts.
This move comes in the wake of severe criticism in the Goa Assembly’s Budget Session which saw the Opposition censuring the government over its tourism promotion strategies and participation in travel marts and road shows.
The Opposition was of the view that the calendar of events should be decided by a panel of experts in the travel and tour trade in Goa who would assist the department in deciding which markets need to be tapped or skipped, depending on the strategies adopted and responses received. There was also criticism by legislators that the department continues to market Goa tourism in destinations which are saturated thereby wasting huge amounts of money.
“It would now be left to the panel of experts to advise the tourism ministry on which travel marts it should participate at and accordingly facilitate in the preparation of year long itinerary,” said a senior ministry official.
Meanwhile, charter flights sprung a surprise by touching a record 987 flights this season, which closes next week. Until May 5, 2013 a total of 2.15 lakh passengers arrived in Goa through charter flights.
Stakeholders in the industry are optimistic that there will be a growth in charter arrivals in the next season following the nod given by the Centre for issue of visas on arrival in Goa.
“Charter arrivals could go up by at least 10 to 15 per cent next season,” said Ernest Dias of SITA, a leading travel and tour operator dealing with markets namely Russia, UK , Finland Scandinavia.
It is learnt that Poland which withdrew its charters for the 2012-13 season has already shown interest in resuming the same, while Kazakhstan has expressed intentions of flying in bigger charters to Goa.
Presently, Goa is participating in a travel mart in Dubai after skipping its participation there for two years.
“We are hoping to attract more tourists from Arabia for medical and wedding tourism,” said an department official.
Other than the regular overseas travel marts in Moscow, London, Berlin it participated for the first time in a travel mart in Gothenburg and conducted road shows in Lithuania and Latvia. [H]

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