Facing a drop in tourist arrivals by chartered flights, the Goa tourism industry has decided to request the Centre to reduce the taxes to allow more chartered flights to land at the state’s lone Dabolim airport.
“Last year, there was a drop in arrival of chartered flights by almost 30 per cent. This is a cause of worry for the tourism industry which is dependent on foreign footfalls,” Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) President Savio Messias told PTI.
A delegation of TTAG has decided to take up the matter with the Union government.
Messias said the lack of space to park aircraft during night halt is a major constraint faced by the chartered flights which discourages them from coming to Goa.
“Goa is the only Indian state where chartered flights arrive. We have to provide them facilities so that their landing here is encouraged,” the TTAG chief said.
“The Indian Navy should provide additional area for parking the aircraft or old airport building should be razed down to make more space,” he said.
He said Eastern Asian countries are giving tough competition to Goa in terms of attracting chartered tourists.
While pointing out that parking at Goa airport is an expensive proportion for chartered flights, Messias said Goa government should provide some subsidy to these operators.
“Goa has already been labelled as an expensive destination. Such kind of subsidy will help to ease the spending by visitors,” he said.
TTAG also said the recent power tariff hike, increase in luxury tax during off season and hike in minimum wages is already taxing the tourism industry.
“With the recent hike in minimum wages, the labour bills of the hotels are going to go up by almost 60 to 70 per cent,” Messias said.
The TTAG has now decided to join hands with other trade bodies, like Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) and CREDAI, to urge the state government to lower the minimum wages.
“We don’t mind hike in the minimum wages. But the amount of hike proposed by the state government is exorbitant,” he said.