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Did the British PM’s visit to Goa in 1983 give boost to tourism?

British tourist in Goa was once a revered tourist profile. Primarily due to their peaceful and polite nature; also they had a good spending capacity. But what introduced Goa to this demographic? Or rather who?

The year was 1983, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) retreat was held in Goa. One of the visiting leaders to the state was the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She wanted to visit the cemetery of the British soldiers in Goa to pay her tributes. The soldiers had died here during their brief posting in order to help the Portuguese fend off, French and Dutch attacks.

The British PM’s visit to the cemetery turned out to be a boon to the state as it was put on the world tourism map. This brief exposure introduced the British audience to Goan shores.

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Immediate effect was soon noticed as flights to Goa filled with British tourists started to land at Dabolim airport. This was a positive change towards the tourist’s profile from the ‘hippies’ who had visited the state from the mid-sixties.

The new chartered tourists brought in monetary gains that helped develop state’s economy. It was these tourists that were very beneficial for Goa as no other tourist group visiting Goa has ever provided so many benefits as the Brits. So, Goans in a way have the cemetery to thank for the developed tourism industry it has today.

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