Goa getting set to play ball with Germans


 Goa tourism heads for ITB-Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) scheduled to take place from March 6-10, 2013 with an objective to regain charter cliental for the ensuing tourism seasons.
After a huge drop in charter arrivals from Europe, Goa is concerned about its German market which is showing signs of sliding down the charter graphs during the last five years.
“Germany was the leading destination from where Goa used to get the highest number of flights and visitors since 2001,” says a ministry level official.
Today, charters from Germany are only the fourth on the list of arrivals and have not shown any phenomenal increase in charter flights and passengers compared to other destinations like Russia and the UK.
While last year 47 flights landed in Goa with 7451 Germans, this year till mid-February only 14 flights with a total of 3657 visitors arrived.
Although Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar blames the recession in Europe for a reduced response from the German market, he admits that Goa has to work hard to ensure that the graph does not dip further.
“We are going to market Goa very aggressively in Berlin just as we did in the WTM-London last November,” he said adding the government would be spending as much as it did in London and would use similar strategies while interacting with the Germans.
He pointed out that Goa will invite journalists and travel agents from Germany and give them a taste of Goa’s tourism.
“A team of four journalists and two travel and tour operators from London are coming to Goa on our invitation this month,” he said adding that this exercise will also be extended to the German business and media segment.
In addition he said, Goa will now focus on activities that are of interest to Germans namely football. “We have received a lot of requests for hosting football events on the beach,” Parulekar said emphasizing that beach football and other sporting activities of tourist interest could be flagged off during the ensuing season.
Goa is also focusing on marketing its eco-tourism and heritage tourism at the ITB-Berlin. [H]