Ban on Russian tourists to Egypt benefiting Goa: Minister

Panaji, Dec 12 (IANS) Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said on Saturday that the ban by Russian President Vladimir Putin on tourists from his country travelling to Turkey and Egypt has proved beneficial for the state.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of a media event here, Parulekar said: “People are scared to go there. Even Putin has banned tourists from Russia to travel to Turkey and Egypt. Goa is selling in the international tourism market like hot cake.”

The minister also said the state had run out of rooms for tourists.

A presidential decree has barred tour operators in Russia from selling trips to Turkey, in order to protect “Russia’s national security and protect Russian citizens from criminal and other illegal activities”.

All flights from Russia to Egypt have also been suspended after a civilian aircraft carrying 224 people crashed in Egypt’s Sinai desert in October after allegedly being shot down by IS militants.

Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country and attracts over three million tourists annually, of which half a million are foreigners.

“This season, we are getting large number of tourists from Russia, Ukraine and Europe. We have a good number of tourists from Britain and Germany too,” Parulekar said, adding that incoming traffic was such that hotel bookings were full.

The minister also said that the Goa tourism ministry was in the process of hiring 100 ex-servicemen to provide additional security at Goa’s popular beaches.

“They will form the beach security force and will work in co-ordination with the state police,” he said.

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