Panaji : The first chartered flight from a foreign country arrived in Goa on Wednesday, heralding the start of the international tourist season in the coastal state. A Boeing 737 with 189 tourists from Kazakhstan on board, operated by SCAT Airlines, landed at the Goa Airport in the morning, said Nilesh Shah, president, of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa ( TTAG ).
The flight was full, he said. Protocol Minister Mauvin Godinho was present at the airport to receive the tourists who were welcomed with the traditional Brass Band performance. International tourist arrivals had almost come to a halt in the last two years due to the COVID – 19 pandemic, Shah said. Before the pandemic, on average 60,000 international tourists arrived in Goa every year. In the coming days, three chartered flights will be arriving from Russia and one each from the UK and Kazakhstan every week, Shah said.