"We are aiming at least 1 million tourists to visit Goa during the forthcoming three-day Goa Carnival. We expect over two lakh tourists per day to visit the state during this period," Goa Principal Secretary, Tourism, R K Verma said.
For the first time, the carnival will include food and cultural festival, which would start on February 8 and continue for the next five days, he added.
"Attracting tourists to Goa is important as tourism contributes 30-35 per cent to state domestic product," Verma said. When asked about the number of tourists who visited the carnival last year, Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said, "Last year, most of the festivities were cancelled due to a school bus accident."
As a new initiative this year, bollywood actors like Neha Dhupia, Sayali Bhagat and others have been roped in for the float parade in Panaji.
The festival as usual will feature four float parades in four cities, Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa, Goa tourism said.
On the initiatives being taken by the state government to attract tourists through out the year, Goa Tourism Development Corporation MD Nikhil Desai said, "Apart from the beaches of Goa we are also promoting heritage tourism, adventure tourism, festival tourism and western ghats tourism." The government is also taking major initiatives for infrastructure development and capacity expansion, Parulekar said.
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The government also plans to fill up vacant posts in the revenue generating departments at the earliest, he said