Following the drop in the tourists from UK and USA, the Russian tourists ruled over Goa for almost a decade. The maximum number of flights would come from Moscow to Goa direct and there was a boom in the tourism sector of Goa due to the Russian charters, but now it looks like this scenario is about to change.
The Russians are saturated in the north Goa. The beach belts comprising of Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, and Morjim is filled with Russian tourists, in fact, many of them also involved in the commercial activities.
According to the post published in the Lonely Planet places like Morjim, Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Sinquerim, Colva, and Palolem are the domain of Russian holidaymakers, and that they are giving other people a hard time monopolizing beach shacks, restaurants, and hotels.
One of the local websites have also called the Morjim as Goa’s Little Russia Just like little China and little Italy in the US, Goa too has a similar set-up, only it’s Russian and often called ‘little Russia’. Morjim a coastal town in North Goa is notorious for its Russian presence. There are many good things and bad things about it. It helps in tourism but many Russians have been known to operate businesses there. Besides, their alleged involvement in drug and human trafficking has earned them the title of ‘Russian mafia’.
The Russian tour operators have decided to switch back to their old destinations since Goa is becoming more expensive and troublesome. The charter flights to Goa will end by 12th January this year and the same will be diverted to Egypt and Turkey, where the situation seems to be improving.
The Times of India has published an article on the decline in Russian tourism, According to them, the steep decline in the tourism industry in the state is grappling with a decline in international tourists, there’s more bad news. Pegas Touristik, a Russian tour operator which operates about 300 flights each season, has decided to discontinue its charter operations in Goa from January 12.
Joao Xavier ‘Bush’ Miranda of Cicerone Air Transport Services, an airline representative firm, said Pegas’ decision is due to the losses it suffered on its Goa account.
Charter operators are feeling the heat as despite several requests to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) the operators didn’t get any relief
According to them, despite several requests, the Indian Authorities are not providing any relief to the Russian Charter operators “Charter operators are feeling the heat as despite of several requests to Airport Authority of India (AAI) the operators didn’t get any relief,” he said. “Elsewhere charter operators are incentivized for their operations,” he added.
According to the sources, after the closure of Egypt and Turkey for tourists the Russian Charter Operator had urged the government of India to simplify the procedures for charter operators but the government seems not ready to promote the tourism industry in Goa.
Goa benefited when charter tourists turned their back on either Turkey or Egypt or both or even Tunisia, due to bloodshed in those countries
“The government is not interested in protecting the tourism industry. Goa is losing international tourists,” he said, adding after mining, this is one industry Goa’s economy is heavily dependant on.
Meanwhile, the Pegas Touristik will continue its operations in Goa and will bring in Russian tourists, but on scheduled flights, he said.
According to Mr. Miranda, In the past Goa benefited from Russian charter tourism, after the closure of Egypt and Turkey routes. “Goa benefited when charter tourists turned their back on either Turkey or Egypt or both or even Tunisia, due to bloodshed in those countries,” he said.
Just like little China and little Italy in the US, Goa too has a similar set-up, only its Russian and often called ‘little Russia’. Morjim a coastal town in North Goa is notorious for its Russian presence
Since things are normalizing there, operators are opting for their old destinations as they are more economical — better packages are offered and plus those are short haul destinations, he said, adding, “Goa can’t be act smug when the competition has intensified.”