Goa Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte on Friday told the state assembly that Dubai has become the preferred destination for high-spending Russian tourists instead of Goa.
He added that the state needs to understand the reasons behind this shift and study emerging markets like the USA, UAE, Germany, South Korea, and Japan, where outbound tourism is increasing.
Mr Khaunte said Goa should follow the example of destinations like Saudi Arabia, which are growing through new tourism services and projects.
“High-spending Russian tourists are found in Dubai. They should come to Goa. They have stopped coming to Goa. We need to study what happened. The state wants to know what exactly went wrong due to which they were diverted to a destination like Dubai,” Mr Khaunte said.
He said that the coastal state could increase tourist arrivals with the commissioning of Manohar International Airport at Mopa, its second airport.
Mr Khaunte and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant plan to meet Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Union Home Minister Amit Shah after the Assembly session ends on August 10, to request that the new airport be designated as a point of call for international flights.
“We have started talking about Goa beyond beaches. We have to take every opportunity to ensure the economy grows and employment is created,” he said.
The Tourism Minister also emphasised focusing on “quality over quantity” when it comes to tourist arrivals, citing Kerala as a successful example.