BY ABDUL RAUF BEIG | NT According to the information provided by the tourism department, the hotels in the state are having occupancy of around 65 per cent in the rainy season as against 50-55 per cent in the previous years, thereby making Goa an all-season tourist destination.After taking a beating for the last two years, tourism appears to be picking up in a big way given the arrival of the tourists in the state. While the state received 10.86 lakh tourists from January to July in the previous year, their number during the same period as per the provisional figures made available by the tourism department is 11.65 lakh, which shows an increase of 79,000 over the last year’s figures. The tourism department officials said that the number is likely to further increase as some of the hotels are yet to provide details of occupancy.
The number of domestic tourists during the first seven months of the year 2010 is 9.60 lakh and that of foreigners is 2.05 lakh (These figures are provisional). In the previous year 9.35 lakh domestic tourists had arrived during the same period, while the number of foreign tourists was 1.51 lakh.
The director of Tourism, Mr Swapnil Naik said that the increase in the number of tourists indicated that the efforts made by the tourism department and the government to promote Goa as a tourist destination had paid off. The state had launched vigorous ad-campaign on television to woo tourists besides holding road shows in the country and abroad.
He also said that the tourism industry too has risen to the occasion and has initiated several innovative measures to woo the tourists to the state and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the government. Going by the present trend the number of tourists could break the previous records, he added.
The state had received 24.79 lakh tourists in the year 2006, while the figure went as high as 25.97 lakh in 2007. The arrival of tourists fell sharply in the year 2008 with 23.71 lakh tourists arriving in the state but tourism showed glimpses of recovery in the year 2009 when 25 lakh tourists arrived in the state. With the best part of tourism season yet to come, the tourism industry is optimistic that all the previous records would be beaten.
Mr Naik further said that the increase in the number of tourists also indicated that the measures adopted by the government to counter the negative publicity and prompt actions in crimes against tourists have paid off. The state has, besides, won several awards for promotion of tourism at the national and international level, he said.
He also said that government would take more steps to provide security to tourists in the ensuing tourist season by deploying tourist security personnel at places of tourist interest. The interviews for selecting the personnel would begin in the first week of September.
He said that measures adopted by Goa Tourism Development Corporation have also yielded good results for the Corporation as its properties along the coast had nearly 70 per cent occupancy and the overall occupancy was between 60-65 per cent, as against just over 50 per cent in the previous years.