December 18,2022: A flurry of announcements and developments, have turned the spotlight on Goa this month, as it gears to consolidate its position as one of India’s most- favoured tourist destinations.
Manohar International Airport, at Mopa in Pernem taluka, North Goa, became the state’s second airport when Prime Minister Modi inaugurated it on December 11. Operations are scheduled to commence on January 5, with GoFirst and Indigo airlines announcing services.
The airport is expected to serve 4.4 million passengers annually to start with and will take the pressure off the existing Navy-controlled airport at Dabolim. However while it will benefit north Goa, it is even further from the capital, Panjim – 34 kms – compared to 25 kms to Dabolim. For Goa’s second city, Madgao, Mopa will be 65 kms away.
Also this month, Goa Tourism signed an agreement with Airbnb to promote hinterland and homestay tourism in the state. It comes on the heels of a new ‘Rediscover Goa’ initiative launched on December 12.
More MICE -related travel
Another category of traveller is rediscovering Goa: the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events (MICE) business is picking up, after a long Covid-related hiatus. Goa is the preferred MICE destination for banking, financial services, insurance, automobile industries, says Thomas Cook.
Read fuller report in Financial Express here.
Multimodal transport app
Goa Transport Minister, Mauvin Godinho announced recently that the government is to launch a Multimodal Transport App giving visitors affordable options for last mile connectivity. Tourists can book taxi, bike or bus ride as soon as they land in the airport.
Sounds great! But the reality today in Goa as regards ground transport is a shame. Reported The Herald (Goa) last week: “In a shocking case of ‘killing the golden goose’, close to 100 foreign tourists, passengers on the cruise ship ‘Ocean Odyssey’ that arrived at the Mormugao Port were forced to go back to their ship without going for their pre-booked sight-seeing trip as the local taxi union members obstructed the buses that were supposed to take them on their tour.”
Tackling Goa’s endemic, politically patronized taxi business, would appear to be a priority before announcing schemes like multimodal transport apps. The state's tourist taxi lobby has hitherto stiffly resisted all attempts to introduce cab hailing services like Ola and Uber.