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There are hardly any Russians in Goa this December — blame rapes & air quality

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Major players in Goa’s tourism industry say there has been a nearly 50% drop in foreign visitors over the Christmas period as compared to last year.

New Delhi: The streets of Goa are still basking in the lights of Christmas but this festive season has been a dampener for the tourism industry in the country’s party capital.

Major players in Goa’s tourism industry say there has been a nearly 50 per cent drop in foreign visitors over the Christmas period as compared to last year.

Goa depends on international tourists to sustain its tourism industry. As per industry estimates, international travellers spend Rs 87,000 per person on average as compared to the Rs 31,500 for an average domestic visitor.

According to the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), the Christmas season is favoured by travellers from abroad and as a result, the state witnesses an influx of chartered fights around this time.

This year, according to TTAG, there was an over 30 per cent drop in the number of chartered flights landing in the state between October and November, while the number of foreign tourists had fallen by almost 50 per cent in the same period.

Data with TTAG shows that between October and November in 2017, 423 chartered flights landed in the state bringing in 60,000 foreign tourists. In the same period this year, 283 chartered flights brought in 31,600 foreign tourists — a 33 per cent drop in the number of flights and a 47 per cent fall in tourist numbers.

“The numbers have registered disappointment in the month of December too,” Savio Messiah, president, TTAG, told ThePrint. “While the exact numbers are not yet available, the numbers of foreign tourist arrivals are expected to have fallen dramatically by almost 50 per cent in December as against last year.”

Messiah further said that the trend was the same throughout this tourism season.

According to him, in 2016-17, there were 988 chartered flights and 2.32 lakh foreign visitors between April and October. In 2017-18, there was a slight dip, with the arrival of 808 chartered flights carrying 2.15 lakh foreign visitors.

“This year, tourists from Russia have fallen by almost 55 per cent whereas tourists from the UK have reduced by 30 per cent. These are the two top nations in terms of foreign travellers to Goa,” Messiah said.

According to Aamantran Travels, the company that handles chartered flights to Goa from Russia and the UK, till last year, 15 to 16 fully packed aircraft, with at least 200 tourists on board, would land from Russia every week.

“This year, the number is down to five flights per week and the seat occupancy is less than 70 per cent,” said Deepak Bhatnagar, co-founder of the firm.

ThePrint reached IndiGo and Vistara through email but we are yet to receive a response. This report will be updated when they respond. Air India, however, said the trend of lesser foreign tourist arrivals in Goa “is not visible”.

Also read: ‘Shameless’ crowdfunding to loans at 24%, Indians will do anything for Instagram-worthy trips

Why the dip in tourist flow

The tourism industry cited a number of reasons for the falling numbers, including poor air quality across India, “crimes against women” and expensive stay at hotels.

“Due to the increased fees on e-visas on arrivals and increased taxation on the hotel industry, India has become less competitive against upcoming destinations such as Egypt, Thailand, Phuket, and Sri Lanka,” Messiah said.

“Moreover, while deciding on the location for vacations factors such as increasing rape incidents and poor air quality index play a major role.”

The hotel industry in Goa is also up in arms over the application of the 28 per cent good and services tax (GST) on luxury hotels with tariffs above Rs 7,500.

The tax, hoteliers claim, makes India one of the most taxed countries in the world for hotels, and this makes the destination less attractive for foreign tourists who tend to stay in upmarket hotels, unlike domestic tourists who choose budget-friendly hotels.

“Across the world, the taxation on hotel industry is not beyond 8 per cent,” said S.M. Shervani, former president of Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI). “Such high taxes make tourists choose other locations from South Asia that are at par with Goa minus the air pollution and crimes.”

Domestic tourist numbers up 

While foreign arrivals have fallen, domestic tourists have increased by at least 20 per cent against last year.

“Our bookings to Goa for domestic tourists have gone up by 20 per cent against last year,” said Karan Anand, head of relationships and supplier management for the travel company, Cox & Kings.

Another popular travel management firm,, echoed Cox & Kings. “While domestic tourist is booking aggressively, the hotels are not packed, unlike last year due to lesser foreigners,” said a spokesperson of “In fact, at least 30 per cent of the rooms of our partnered hotels are still vacant.”

Also read: Why Haj 2019 will see twice as many Indian women travel without male guardians


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  1. The article is apt but it forgot to mention one more point with the dip in tourists in Goa-poor behaviour & poor attitude of the shopkeepers & hotel staffs. It’s pathetic! Didn’t feel like the same Goa as I saw & felt 4 years back.

  2. I too agree from the comments above, apart from these The ‘Sun Burn’ music event was the main attraction of Goa. Since it moves to Pune the youngsters all over the world feels disappointed as Goa is an easy access then Pune. Infrastructure is at full, cleanliness is average, lots of new projects are on completion…but at present people are missing the festive spirit of Goa, No cultural,road, music, folk, beach events are planned for the entertainment of tourists, these too may be the reason of declining tourism of Goa.

  3. The tax is 18 percent almost on all things. That is not a big deterrent what is deterring even to the domestic tourists is looting and cheating by GOA people shamelessly. We have booked a room with one Mr Avinash in hotel Sumiara. The room shown on website and allotted to us was poles apart. The room has no hot water, room service, dirty stinking toilets, unwashed bed linen, no blankets and the room at a secluded spot. The taxi fare gone up by three fold and beer costing 180/00 on average, what is the motivation to go to Goa. Goa will lose its charm and the responsibility lies on people and the cheaters and looters like Mr. Avinash. Don’t blame Govt. Goans are hell bent on cheating and looting people on the name of season.

  4. In entirety, the picture created by us, the wise Indians, very efficient in inefficiency, Jumlebaji and planning all over, is very loud and clear to the world community. Our Commander, with his one and half stalwarts, seems to have great skills in planning, implementation, coupled with great liking, love and confidence in his own tenor in speech, that he regards everything else as immaterial and null and void.

    Our Govt is very much in Election Mode since the day one of it’s four and half years of reign so far. The entire planning and implementation goes into Event Management, by squandering huge amounts of public funds, with no returns. Recent examples like Goa CM going out from his sick bed to inspect a bridge under construction, with a pipe inserted in his nose for breathing, is very much indicative that even a sick person is not spared. Secondly UP CM creating a broil regarding Taj, a world heritage.

    The furore in protection of Cow mother, rampant Rapes, Agitations by Farmers, Students, Teachers, Vetarns and Minorities, Lynchings, Ghar Wapsasi, Love Jihad, Opposing Valentine Day Celebrations, coupled with GST, Currency ban, Heavy Taxation etc are few of the reasons, we should be proud of and be also convinced that this should attract the Foreign Tourists to boost for Tourism Industry. And then the Goan Police, playing a major role!

  5. We get there by flite 1500 and from airport to hotel 1600 who wana pay more ??? Yes taxation 28% is also major issue, solution is not to expect more coz now a days even we indian prefer to go abroad comparing Goa’s expenses

  6. Goa has become very Expensive compared to other States, Outsider have taken Goa in there control, that’s why the Traditional Charm has gone and Goa is Dieing Slowly..

  7. Goa locals it’s party over for you I think due to loot in everything from food to conveyance to water sports . Now It’s local government’s duty to restore faith of tourists with strict measures to curb this loot. Otherwise there will be no diff between goa & other beach destinations of India which hardly indians love to visit .

  8. Costly taxi service is an issue in whole Goa.Even lately misbehaving with ladies is becoming an issue at some parts of Goa.
    Besides lot of traffic jams and very slow movements during peak seasons becoming a big problem to commute.

  9. All over goa, only cheaters r wandering. Save goa from these cheaters Mr CM. Otherwise goa will be finished on tourist map.

  10. Start beef again
    Serve the Russian s what they love the most ..
    Beach ,a long Island ice tea and beef steak ..

    See the change

    And ofcourse reduce GST

  11. We are a group of ten.we been harassed by the road side police.They target us we part with money easily. I was at the airport to pick someone.I was approached by a police officer. He asked me for my licence which I showed him then he asked me phone person who’s car it is which I tried number of times with no joy so I had to pay him 300 Rupees otherwise he said he will compound my car.Three other group members have experienced similar. THEY don’t take there bikes out any more.I am reluctant to my car out any more.It was my Idea to bring here here for Christmas .I cannot see comming back here although most Goans work very hard to please foreigners

  12. The dip is due to the haphazard management by the BJP Govt, the police and tourism department to be precise..they are so used to crimes, mismanagement, and irresponsible attitude specially the police.North Indians are taking over Goa…

  13. Dear Article Auther please find correction in your articles, there are too much high rate of taxis in Goa compare to any other cities in india,no cab service is allowed in Goa,700Rs rs one day rent of two wheelar by local person is i think it much high,we have given 1600 rs from Airport to our hotels on 24th december 2018 that distance is about 28km from airport and local people taxi owner taking too much charge and on night we have payed 800rs for six person of 12kms disrance travells so who will travelled to that destinations besides my opinion is there are everywhere travellers have to pay more in anything so please one time travel in season and do experiance then you realise why tourist depriciation in Goa

  14. Apart from rapes, and poor air quality, strays, garbage in every nook and corner coupled with poor infrastructure and inadequate public transportation have all contributed to the dip in tourist arrivals. This trend is likely to continue until good infra is put in place.

  15. We must be genuinely welcoming of foreign guests. Some years back, there was a lot of talk about “ Russian mafia “ taking over parts of Goa. It should be possible for foreigners to buy property in India, older visitors to spend the entire winter here, perhaps even to settle, as Britons do in Spain ( courtesy membership of the EU, true ). So long as foreign tourists are spending their shekels liberally, perhaps we should not look too closely into what they are smoking.

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