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Goa fears to lose its position as preferred holiday spot

Manguirish Pai Raikar, chief of Goa chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) said the competition in the region is growing manifold.

Updated: Oct 20, 2011, 12:01 PM IST

Panaji: The tourism industry here feels that Goa will lose its position as the most preferred holiday destination to competitors, if it does not market itself aggressively on a global level.

Manguirish Pai Raikar, chief of Goa chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) said the competition in the region is growing manifold.

"If Goa needs to be on the radar of foreign tourists, we need to create a space for them," he said hinting at providing alternatives like hinterlands.

Goa has been receiving four lakh foreign tourists annually, of which 40 percent are repeat clienteles, the industry players say.

With the traditional markets like the UK shrinking, the state is finding solace in the form of Russians, who crossed half a lakh mark during last tourist season.

Raikar said South Asian countries, which are competitive tourist destinations, are trying to woo visitors, who have been traditionally coming to Goa.

"We need to provide them a different profile so that they come here time and again," he said.

The GCCI chief said that the Goa International Travel Mart (GITM), a three day event which starts tomorrow, is happening at a right time when industry needs to fortify its
marketing strategies.

The state tourism industry has now decided to diversify from its conventional beach tourism, which has been nurtured around the 105-km long coastline, with two dozen famous beaches.

Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Goa Chief Ralf D’Souza said the Goa tourism industry cannot be lethargic in its promotions.

"If we are lax then we are in for a big surprise and that will be a shock," D’Souza, a hotel owner himself, said.

The state government representatives said attempts are being made to have a network of states on the western coast so that the joint promotional strategies can be worked out.

RK Verma, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Goa government, said the states on the western coast like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Kerala and Karnataka can join hands in selling
their destinations for guests.

"We need to join hands in promoting holiday destinations," Verma said.

Goa has been receiving 26 lakh tourists, of which four lakh are foreigners.

The industry is continuously reeling under the fears of global economic crisis and other domestic issues like safety concerns for visitors.

PTI