In a conversation with T3, Nikhil Desai, Director - Tourism, Government of Goa and Managing Director, Goa Tourism Development Corporation talks about the state’s plans for this year.
Goa is ideally the land of contrast and the new logo perfectly depicts this. It is for young and old. No other destinations in India can offer such a diverse tourism product portfolio. One can go from sea to mountain within 30 minutes. So far, Goa has been perceived as a beach destination, our new branding strategy is to tell the world that Goa is the land of contrast rich in culture and heritage. This is perhaps world’s first ambigram logo for a tourism destination.
We have engaged a full time brand consultant who is segmenting each market. The strategy is different for different markets. Like for Middle East, we are not selling beaches but selling culture, heritage and MICE that will appeal to tourists. For a landlocked country like Russia, we are selling beaches. We are adopting different pitch for different countries.
We have been pumping a lot of money in developing infrastructure especially on the beaches. We are also going for some PPP projects and upgradation of existing government hotels. Last year, we spent Rs 70-80 crore only on infrastructure. In the next three to four years, we will be investing Rs 400-500 crores in tourism infrastructure that will already take the existing infrastructure on a better level.
The response from the private sector has been very encouraging. We have been adding room capacity and attracting bigger brands as well. Last year, foreign tourist arrivals grew by 9.5 per cent and domestic tourists arrivals by 12.5 per cent. In terms of year-on-year growth, we were highest in the country which is a very good sign. The efforts that we are taking in rebranding Goa, ensuring the safety and security, maintaining cleanliness, putting a system of proper beach safety and night patrolling on the beaches of Goa and having a tourist security force and focusing on infrastructure is working well and in the years to come we will consolidate it further.
Domestic market is doing quite well. We have grown by 12.5 percent. Goa is emerging as one of the best wedding destinations in the country. We are getting a lot of weddings and honeymooners. Every month we have weddings from different domestic markets. Goa has arrived on the big fat Indian wedding scene and it can only go up from here.
We are focusing on drawing more numbers from Germany and France. We are looking at East European countries like Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary which have a good potential. We are also looking at South East Asian countries, US and Canada. We are looking at US and Canada very seriously. We have already started engaging travel agents from there. We are focusing more on the east coast of US.
For 2014, the budget should around Rs 35-40 crores include festival tourism and marketing. In domestic market, we will be participating in 35-40 exhibitions including SATTE. We are looking at West Bengal and Gujarat. In North India, we are already very strong. We are looking at expanding our hold in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
Domestic market will continue to grow. There will be pressure on international arrivals due to Ukraine issue. The numbers from East Europe, South East Asia and Middle East is expected to grow this year. This year we will also target US and Canada.