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Date: 03/02/2011

Goa keeps on going

In spite of the massive cold front that shut down European travel for so much of December, the tourists continue to flock to Goa's beaches in search of some winter sun and fun.

Tourist industry officials have reported that overall, European winter woes this past month have not produced any measurable differences in the Goa travel market, adding that the domestic travel market within India, which enjoys a long season from October till the end of March, when the rains hit, has helped to offset any dips there might have been in those coming from overseas.

Luckily, the severe weather across the European continent has not affected tourism coming into Goa whatsoever. Not a single flight from Europe to Goa has been cancelled so far and only a select few have been moderately delayed. With Goa expecting close to 750 chartered flights from Europe this travel season, the weather could have played a decisive role in a bad tourist season, but so far they have been fortunate–every flight leaving Europe for Goa has landed.

Hotel managers here, in the coastal region of western India, have specified that while European or foreign tourists in general are important to the overall success of the tourist industry in the state, domestic tourism picks up a lot of the slack, with people from all over India coming to Goa in droves. Occupancy has been reported as a little low this season due to a drop in foreign tourists but there has been a rise in domestic tourism to the region at the same time, offsetting any real financial effect. Locals feel confident that this safety net of domestic visitors will see them through.

Historically, this charming sliver of land running up the western coast was the first part of the India subcontinent to be colonized by the Europeans and the last to be freed from colonial rule. It wasn't until 1961 that Indian troops marched into Goa to liberate it from the grip of Portuguese colonialists. Though Goa voted to be an autonomous country in the aftermath of its liberation, it was eventually annexed by India in 1987 and received its statehood.

Goa attracts visitors every year for its warm winter beaches, dance and cultural festivals and, in particular, the New Year's Eve and Carnival celebrations. The Carnival festival here, which usually takes place in February, is one of the most famous in the world (after Brazil, of course). Goa owes this tradition to the Portuguese influence in the region, Carnival being a Catholic festival at the end of the day, taking place in a predominantly Hindu country, which makes it all the more interesting.

Goa attracts almost two and a half million tourists each year, with only around half a million of them coming from outside India. The lush beaches, marvelous fish and laidback way of life make this a great spot to take a relaxing holiday. Multi trip travel insurance packages can offer you coverage for multiple trips throughout the region, or single trip travel insurance if you're not planning on coming back, but either way it's a good idea to cover your family and your valuables before heading off.