Coronavirus: Goa tourism industry puts Chinese delegation's visit on hold

Passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport get checked for coronavirus flu. The virus outbreak is fanning fears of global isolation Photo: Reuters

A Chinese delegation's visit to Goa has been put on hold by tourism industry stakeholders here in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country, an official said on Sunday.

The delegation, comprising photographers, models, online and offline booking experts and marketing strategists from China, was supposed to arrive here on Sunday, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Savio Messias told PTI.

"But, their visit has been now put on hold in view of the present situation following the outbreak of the coronavirus in China. The delegation was part of a marketing strategy planned by Goa tourism industry stakeholders to attract visitors from China," Messias said.

Goa has been eyeing Chinese markets to salvage its sagging international tourism industry. A delegation from the coastal state participated in a travel mart last month in China's Chengdu city.

There were also plans to market Goa as a tourist destination in China's prominent cities like Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, Messias said.

"But, the plans have now been put on hold till the coronavirus scare is there. Once it is over, we will resume our promotions in China," he said.

Former TTAG president Ralf D'Souza, who also runs a chain of hotels in Goa, claimed that highest footfalls in any tourist destination across the world are from India and China.

"Goa's tourism industry also sees a huge potential from China, but due to the coronavirus scare, we have to keep our promotional activities in the neighbouring country on hold," he said.

Goa attracts nearly four lakh foreign visitors annually, including from destinations like the UK and USA.

The death toll in China's coronavirus outbreak rose to 811 on Sunday, while over 37,000 people have been confirmed as infected with the deadly virus.

The virus - which first emerged in Wuhan city in China's central Hubei province - has spread to 25 countries, including India (three confirmed cases have been reported from Kerala), the US and the UK.

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