New Delhi: For the past few decades, Russian tourists have been playing a vital role in boosting Goa’s economy through tourism.
The High-spending Russian tourists have not just contributed to Goa’s tourism sector by squandering around the coastal state for a long time but have also helped in driving international tourism in the state by promoting Indian culture in Russia and overseas.
However, over the years, Dubai has slowly but surely replaced Goa as Russian tourists’ go-to holiday destination and the same is a matter of concern for both the Goan and Indian governments.
Why are Russians ignoring Goa?
Raising the issue in the State Assembly session, Goa’s tourism minister Rohan Khaunte recently stated that in the past few years, there has been a shift in preferences of international tourists who are now opting for visiting emerging markets like UAE, South Korea, Japan etc instead of Goa.
“Rich tourists from Russia have stopped coming to Goa. They are now found in Dubai and we need to study the reason behind it to know what went wrong with Goa due to which the tourists have to look for alternative destinations instead” said Khatune in his statement.
Giving the example of Saudi Arabia, the minister added that Goa too should take Saudi-like measures for attracting international investments and work on various kinds of projects to help the state regain its lost tourism.
He further added that the development of the state’s second international airport (Mopa) will provide them with a perfect opportunity to increase footfall and boost tourism once again.
Is Dubai a new safe haven for Russians?
As per the 2023 Skift report, Dubai registered a significant surge in foreign tourists and recorded the arrival of over 1.47 million overnight visitors in January. Out of those 1.47 million, Russian tourists emerged as the second largest group that chose the emirate city as their favourite holiday destination.
The reports revealed that the air traffic between Dubai and Moscoe has spiked around 228% and over 1,15,000 Russians visited Dubai for a holiday this January. This was around 63% more than the last year’s Russian tourist figures in the city.
This sudden rise is also being seen as a result of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine which has forced many Russians to seek safe haven outside their country in order to save themselves from the effects of heavy sanctions that are imposed on their country by the US and allies.
Other than Russia, Dubai has received the most number of visitors from India (1,86,000) which is followed by Saudi Arabia at the third position with around 99,000 visitors to the city.
Will Mopa airport get point-of-call status?
Meanwhile, in Goa, The Tourism minister has recently said that following the end of the assembly, chief minister Pramod Sawant will be soon meeting with the Union Civil aviation minister Joytiraditya Scindia and Home Minister Amit Shah to request them for granting Mopa airport a point of call status for international airlines.
“We want to take Goa beyond beaches and are taking every step to increase the state’s economic growth and employment rate” he added. He further suggested that Goa should take inspiration from the state of Kerela and go for quality rather than quantity.