It is no more surprising that whatever is happening in the state lately have taken lots of tourists away from Goa. The domestic tourist inflow dropped drastically this year-end, and the foreigners also preferred to look for other alternatives. The overall drop in the tourists led Goa to be left behind in the race with other states and Bengal bagged the sixth rank leaving Goa and Kerala behind.

The report published in the Times of India claimed that the West Bengal bagged a sixth place in the country in terms of attracting foreign tourists from all over the world this year. 

Goa and Kerala, two of the major tourist destinations on India normally attracting a maximum number of foreign tourists have left behind in the race this time giving the clear winning edge to West Bengal.    

The reports further state that the West Bengal Tourism Meet by Confederation of Indian Industry kicked off on Monday on a positive note, pegging West Bengal at the sixth position in terms of attracting foreign tourists.    

This has taken the state ahead of Kerala and Goa, said Vijay Dewan, chairman of the tourism sub-committee of CII in his inaugural address. Darjeeling has been one of the biggest draws among the tourists visiting the state, tour operators and hospitality brands operating in the hills have said.   

“West Bengal is Number 6 in the country in terms of attracting tourists from abroad. It is ahead of Goa and Kerala. The state has made huge progress in quality service, reliability and affordability, which has provided a huge impetus to tourism,” said Dewan.    

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It was not alone the weather and scenic beauty that attracted more foreigners to Darjeeling, but also the efforts of the state tourism industry who initiated the toy train projects that drew more crowd.

“Most foreigners coming to the state head to Darjeeling and adjoining hill stations because the weather is pleasant compared to some of the colder countries. The toy train, which is a UNESCO heritage site is also a big draw,” said a representative of Eastern Himalayas Travel and Tour Operators’ Association.

The Preparation

After realising their efforts can draw more foreigners to the state the West Bengal tourism has decided to develop the infrastructure to stay up with the demands. The government have decided to encourage more home-stays in the state to meet the demand and soon bring in guidelines to regulate the fledgeling homestay industry in north Bengal and other parts of the state so that guests receive reliable and quality services when visiting the state.      

“Homestays have added a new dimension to tourism in the state and it is encouraging to see the industry grew rapidly. It is creating employment opportunities too. But it has come to our notice that in some cases the facilities are not up to the mark. We want to assure quality and reliability for guests visiting our state,” said Gautam Deb, minister of tourism.   

Members of the CII and various tourism companies attending the tourism meeting also gave a wish list to the government to attract more tourists to the state, claims the report.  

“River tourism should get special treatment in our tourism policy because it has a huge potential. We also need to develop entertainment hubs around Park Street, Tangra, Sector V and New Town. The state has a rich cultural heritage which can be showcased by developing heritage tourism in places like Murshidabad, Bankura and Birbhum,” said Dewan.

The Incredible Goa Take 

There were also suggestions to increase the parking bays for aircraft at the city airport and bringing the ATF under the ambit of GST.

The above gives clear indication to the State Government of Goa to roll up their sleeves and start working on the new master plan for attracting more tourists at least in the coming season. There is a need of all the tourism stakeholders in the state to work together towards the betterment of Goa’s tourism industry which is sinking.    

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