A day after it was reported that Russia had ticked off India from its safe travel destination list, the Russian government clarified their statement had been misinterpreted and Goa remains one of the favourite tourist places of their citizens.
Goa-based Russian Information Centre's head Ekaterina Belyakova said their statement, issued on Saturday, only mentioned about removal of Egypt and Turkey from the list. Goa was seen as a possible alternative destination to the two troubled nations, she said in another statement issued on Sunday.
"Our statement did not have any information regarding removal of India from the list of safe countries or including India in the list of unsafe countries as was mentioned in several reports and headlines published in the Indian media," Belyakova said.
The centre said on Sunday that the Russian government was only considering Cuba, south Vietnam and southern China as new safe travel places.
"In our previous statement, we noted that Russian authorities did not discuss including Goa or India in the list of 'safe' destinations recommended by the Russian government to Russian tourists. We said that the Russian government discussed the list of countries recommended for visit," the centre said.
Several media reports surfaced on Sunday suggesting Russia had dropped India from its safe destination list owing to "local incidents" and high prices of rooms. The reports also quoted Belyakova as saying, "Both India and Goa were not considered good destinations for Russian travellers."
"According to booking.com, a room with a sea view and air conditioning in Vietnam will cost Rs 700 per night, while in Goa, it is not less than Rs 1,500," she had reportedly said.
Goa is one of the favourite tourist destinations for travellers. Three million tourists visit Goa annually, nearly half a million of which are foreigners. Russians top the list of foreign tourists to Goa's beaches followed by people from Britain.
(With inputs from IANS)