Panaji: More than 400 years after saint Francis Xavier spread Christianity in Goa after sailing from present day Spain, the Goa Tourism is keen to promote tourism with Madrid.
Tourism officials spoke of initiating ties with the Spanish state of Navarra, the birthplace of the saint, in a bid to promote cross-regional tourism.
"The Spanish counterparts have also shown keen interest in Goa due to its emotional ties with the state," Swapnil Naik, Goa`s tourism director, told reporters here.
Situated in the northern tip of Spain, Navarra is a popular pilgrimage destination in Europe.
March is the month of the popular pilgrimage Javierada when thousands walk from Pamplona, the capital of Navarra, and other places in the region to the castle where the saint was born in 1506. He died in 1552.
Looking to tap this market, a delegation of Goa tourism officials will travel to the Spanish region to meet Navarra`s tourism officials and industry leaders in an attempt to promote Goa.
"We are keen on developing a Goa-Navarra circuit and will be travelling to Pamplona shortly. A large number of people travel to Goa and Navarra every year on pilgrimages. We are keen on building a stronger relationship with the region," Naik said.
The basilica of Bom Jesus located in Old Goa in India, holds the mortal remains of saint Xavier. He is revered by millions in India and Spain.
While in Navarra, the delegation will study the region`s success in renewable energy, environment - friendly methods of garbage management and other eco-tourism ventures.
"Navarra has created a successful model which integrates tourism and renewable energy. We hope to get an insight into the policies and implementation process which will aid in rolling out similar energy measures in Goa," Naik said.