Goa set for food and cultural festival from Feb 10

Come February 10, 2018, and the tiny erstwhile Portuguese territory of Goa will echo to the sound of music in a four-day fiesta of colourful sights and float parades that represent the spirit of the “Carnaval” – courtesy of the State Government budgeting Rs 1.54 crore for this event – which is celebrated as the Carnival worldwide including the spectacular one at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

“Thousands of tourists from the world over come every year to Goa to view this Carnaval, whose colourful float parade will be flagged off on February 10 from the state capital – Panjim – along the Dona Paula-Miramar route, while similar float parades will be held in Margao (Feb 11), Vasco (Feb 12) and Mapusa (Feb 13),” said Gavin Dias, Deputy General Manager, Hotels & Marketing, Goa Tourism Development Corporation said here recently.

Goa is also holding a five-day “Goa Food & Cultural Festival” from February 9, where the State’s delicious cuisine will be on display through professionals from the tourism and hospitality industry, hoteliers, restaurateurs, beverage brands and lifestyle outlets showcasing their premium offerings.

Prizes worth Rs 1.50 crore will be awarded to the winners of the “Chef de Goa” competition and the best “Floats” in the parades, besides consolation prizes, he said while adding that a “Hop-on, Hop-off” double-decker bus for tourist movement would be plying the streets during the Carnaval.

“A Goa Float will be participating in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro Carnival. However, we hope to reach the heights of the Rio Carnival in the Goa Carnaval,” Dias said, pointing out that the organisers – Goa Tourism Department — had contemplated bringing a +Samba+ group from Rio de Janeiro to participate in the Goa Carnaval.

“A Samba group comprises of between 50 to 100 artistes and bringing them here would have been exciting to add the Brazilian dancing flavor, though it would have cost quite a bit. While it is too late to bring them in now, we need to budget this in advance while working out the details with the relevant people to see if we can bring them in next year,” he said, adding that the Mayor of Panjim is in contact with the Brazil Government in this regard.

“Goa, despite being a tiny state, is thinking big in promoting its tourism. In 2016, we brought in five of the best global bloggers on a 15-day programme to highlight Goa’s tourism activities. So far, Goa is witnessing a steady 10% growth as a Weddings and MICE destination. We presently have 524 hotel rooms and have invested Rs two crores in a huge fleet of 45-seater tourist buses as we are catering to massive numbers of domestic and foreign tourists,” Dias said while emphasizing that, after viewing tourists feedback, efforts are also on to increasing ‘hinterland’ tourism like a variety of spice and other plantations, ancient relics of ‘Tambdi Surla’ etc which would increase tourist numbers substantially.

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