WOOING CHINESE TOURISTS NEXT ON GOVERNMENT AGENDA

PANJIM: After having succeeded in wooing the Russian tourists in large numbers to the state, the state tourism department authorities as well as the captains of hospitality industry have now set their eyes on tourists from China, South East Asian nations and Australia.
The director of tourism, Mr Swapnil Naik said that there is a huge potential in Chinese tourism market, which if tapped could benefit the state in a big way, as the Chinese have begun exploring the world in large numbers. He said that more emphasis needed to be given in order to attract the Chinese, like better promotion of Goa as a tourist destination.
Mr Naik, however, said that absence of a direct link was a major hurdle in bringing the tourists to the state. He said that promoting charter flights from major Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, etc would go a long way in attracting the Chinese tourists. Communication is a major problem as Chinese speak in their national language only.
He further said that the department was planning to rope in tour operators from China to start charters flights from major Chinese cities and bring along with them guides and Chinese cooks, as the people from China prefer to strictly follow their cuisine. This experiment was followed when the Russians were wooed to the state and it was successful in a big way.
The former president of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, Mr Ralph de Souza said that with the opening of their economy, the Chinese have been taking to visiting places all over and thus Goa could tap the market in a big way by taking steps to promote the state among the Chinese.
“There is huge market in China and we need to tap it at the earliest to derive maximum benefit out of it,” said another official of the tourism department adding that it all depended on charter tour operators to bring tourists to Goa and whether they would take the risk that the charter operators from Russia took in the early stages.
Mr Naik and Mr de Souza also said that a good number of tourists from South East Asian countries have started coming to the state but there was a need for further promotion of the state in those countries to attract the tourists in larger numbers.
As regards to Australian tourists, both said that a little more promotion on the part of the state could bring in Australians to Goa, who though aware of Goa as a tourist destination, were still wondering what the state had to offer them. “A lot of Australians are interested in coming to Goa,” they informed. Mr Naik and Mr de Souza said that a subsidiary of Qantas and private airlines operated from the Changi airport in Singapore like Silk Air and Tiger Air could be used to bring in tourists from Australia and SE Asian countries to Goa. (NT)

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