Panaji: Goa is witnessing a rise in tourist arrivals, both domestic and international, during the post-pandemic period, the legislative assembly was told on Wednesday.
Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte listed various measures being undertaken by the state government including visiting various international events to attract tourists.
"In 2019, which was the pre-pandemic year, 71.27 lakh domestic tourists had arrived in Goa. This figure crossed 72 lakh in November 2022," the minister said.
He said the number of international travellers who visited Goa in the year 2019 stood at 9.37 lakh which went down to 1.69 lakh in the year 2022 due to the COVID-19 impact.
"As of November 2023, 4.03 lakh foreign tourists have arrived in Goa, a rise of 138.69 per cent (compared to year 2022)," the minister added.
He said many tourists from the UK and Russia visit Goa annually.
"This year, we were expecting footfalls from Israel but due to the war with Hamas, the number got affected. We started from Uzbekistan, the first chartered flight came but the other didn't," the minister added.
Khaunte dismissed the allegation by Congress MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira who claimed that state tourism department delegations visit foreign destinations on junkets and this trend should be stopped.
Intervening in the discussion, Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai demanded that the tourism department table a white paper about all the road shows in which it had participated.
"Former CM Manohar Parrikar had said that there would be a pre-audit of all the roadshows. Now, we are demanding a ban on all promotions. We don't want consultants, we want think tanks. Some Goan people can give free advice to them. There should be half an hour discussion on it," he said.