Panaji: Russians have topped the number of charter tourists to arrive in Goa this tourism season.
The Goa tourism department Friday revealed that 889 charter flights landed in this tourist state famous for its tranquil Arabian Sea beaches, during the season from October last year to March this year.
Statistics show that 1.71 lakh foreign tourists arrived in Goa by charter flights during the season, Russians topping the charter tourism arrival charts at 87,921 passengers, while tourists from the UK ranked second at 57,848.
Besides these two countries, which account for the bulk of the charter tourists in Goa, charters from Switzerland, Poland, Finland, Germany, Norway, France, the Netherlands and Iran also landed in the state to join Goa`s tourism party.
The month of January accounted for the highest number of tourists coming to Goa, followed by December. 19,751 Russian charter tourists hit Goa`s beaches in January along with 12,961 UK tourists in the same month, which is a peak tourist time in the state known for its Christmas and New year festivities.
In all, 38,551 foreign charter tourists landed in Goa in January, while the month of December accounted for 32,742 tourists.
Official statistics also reveal that a whopping 431 Russian charter flights landed in the state during the period, most of them emanating from St. Petersburg and Moscow, while 261 charter flights from the UK made it to Goa from October last year to March this year.
"This tourist season, the state has seen a large increase in tourists from countries like Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia," spokesperson for the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) Ralph de Souza said.
Statistics show that over 50 percent of the total number of charter flights arriving in Goa originated from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia, and Kazakhstan. In all, 435 flights arrived from Russia and 20 from Kazakhastan, from the total 899 flights.
Travellers from Russia and other Eastern European countries arrive in the state mainly through the charter route. But that`s not necessarily the case with British travellers, de Souza said.
"Goa has consistently received a high number of British travellers, especially long staying guests. This year 261 charters arrived from the UK. However, tourists arriving from Britain are significantly higher than these numbers because many arrive via Mumbai as the connectivity of flights is better," he said.
A total of 261 charter flights carrying 57,848 travellers arrived in Goa from the UK this season, he added.