No Russian advisory against India: Consul

Panaji: Goa is a “relatively safe” destination and Russian authorities have not issued any advisory calling the beach state an unsafe place, honorary Russian Consul Victor Albuquerque said on Tuesday.

Albuquerque addressed a press conference here to formally state the position of the Russian government.

This followed erroneous reports in a section of the media last week that India and Goa had been struck off Russia`s safe destination list for its outbound travellers.

“No advisory given by Russian authorities that Goa is a destination which is unsafe… Goa is relatively safe. Of course, anything cannot be 100 percent safe there are a few irritants,” Albuquerque said.

“The consulate confirms that there has been no advisory,” he said.

The confusion caused panic among the tourism industry stakeholders in Goa for whom Russian tourists are critical for business.

Albuquerque said that over the last few years, Russians accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total inbound foreign tourists every year although the proportion has dipped in the current year.

Over half a million foreign tourist visit Goa annually.

“Russians account for at least 50 percent of the entire tourists arriving in Goa. Earlier it was 60-70 percent,” Albuquerque said.

The honorary consul denied that Russians indulged in drugs.

“They are a good lot of tourists, except for some bad mangoes in a basket,” he said.