goa beach
Tourists relax at the Anjuna beach in the western Indian state of Goa. [Representational Image]Reuters

The Russian government has removed India from its list of safe travel destinations owing to safety concerns, particularly in Goa, according to reports.

According to Russian news agency INTERFAX, Russia recently revised the safe travel destination list and struck off Egypt and Turkey following the explosion of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai peninsula on 31 October, reported The Times of India.

Apart from delisting Egypt and Turkey, Russia also struck off India from the list.

This decision will majorly affect Goa, where most of the foreign tourists are from Russia. Head of the Russian information centre Ekaterina Belyakova said local incidents in Goa and price rise had prompted Russia to take the decision.

"Both India and Goa were not considered good destinations for Russian travellers," said Belyakova.

"Over the past few years, the number of Russian tourists was not less than 50% of all foreign tourists visiting Goa. Since 2002, the number of Russian-speaking tourists has grown steadily. In 2013, the number was 250,000," she said.

However, according to Belyakova, the drop in Russian tourists in Goa started in 2014 and it is likely to go down even more by 2016.

"The crisis began in 2014, and together with the devaluation of the rouble, Russians arriving in Goa halved in number. Contributing to this was also negative incidents involving taxi drivers and price rise. The trend for 2016 says there will be more reduction. A very negative impact is the bankruptcy of Transaero Airlines, which flew 50% of Russian tourists to Goa," said Belyakova.

Commenting on the price rise, Belyakova said countries like Cuba, Vietnam and China, which have been added as new travel destinations for their "excellent infrastructure, friendly atmosphere and warm weather in winter", offer stay at half the price offered in Goa.

"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 said.

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