Goa set for big spurt in Russian tourists

The recession will cut back charter tourists from the UK by almost 20 per cent, said the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).

Russia has been one of the fastest growing markets for Goa in the last five years, thanks largely to the rash of small travel operators that have sprung up across Moscow and St Petersburg to sell the destination.

Some 80,000 Russians are expected to travel to Goa this year, up almost 100 per cent from the 44,000 who visited last year. The first charters from Moscow will begin to arrive here on October 14, and reservations have been made across the state.

“Goa has become a very attractive destination for Russians because of the weather and rates that are far more competitive than Europe,” says TTAG president Ralph D’Souza, who credits the small operators with popularising this winter destination. One of Russia’s biggest tour operators Pegas alone is expected to fly in 1,000 tourists every ten days.

Not surprising then, that many shacks and restaurants on the coast will be out with bilingual menus to cater to the Russian clientele.

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