BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Goa Evening Gala, held at the Crowne Plaza hotel here on Dec.19, was an event that gave a peek into the cultural lifestyle and the beauty of the Indian state. The event was organized by the Government of Goa along with Goa Tourism Development Corporation to promote the state as a premium holiday destination of the world.
Dilip Parulekar, the State Tourism Minister and Nikhil Desai, Managing Director of Goa Tourism Development Corporation headlined the event that brought together professionals from the travel industry.
The evening comprised of dance performances, presentations and a short film that gave the night a boost. Those in attendance comprising mostly of travel agents and others
The evening offered a synopsis of the various aspects of holidaying in Goa and the wealth of activities it offers for every kind of tourist: adventure, history, culture, religion, sport. The presentations detailed the beaches, historic churches, nightlife and the unique seafood centric cuisine. Conscious of the market they were addressing, the Goan officials present pitched their state as one big on well being with offerings of yoga and ayurveda.
Nikhil Desai after his detailed presentation took questions from the audience which tended to focus on security and entry visas. He reiterated what he had mentioned in a breakfast meeting with the press earlier in the day – the Goan police works closely with the tourist department and extends all possible support to afford the safety and security of every tourist. On being pressed on the issue, he pointed out that it was also required of the visitor to be careful and not venture into certain areas especially late at night, adding that this was a smart way to travel no matter which part of the world or which city you were in.
Travel agents expressed some serious technical concerns about Indian visas and proposed that the Indian government should consider visas upon arrival to make travel logistics easier and less cumbersome. Again, Desai said while it was a concern, it was a matter that the federal government would look into, adding that a handful of nations were now eligible for visa upon arrival.
There were also questions raised about direct flights to Goa by Air India. A representative from Air India who was present, talked about plans by the carrier to increase its international routes. Desai announced that an international airport in Goa was not a distant dream and that a world class terminal at the Goa airport is going to happen soon. Guests were entertained with a showcase of Goan and Portugese style dances along with some Bollywood dance numbers performed by students of Rangashree Dances of India. The dinner served was also a spread of the small state’s unique cuisine and served as a preview of the famed Indian hospitality that helped toward convincing many that Goa indeed is a place worth visiting.