I was recently invited by a very good friend of mine, fellow blogger Joanna from The World In My Pocket to go on a press trip to India on her behalf to attend the Goa International Travel Mart also known as GITM 2019, and I’m not ashamed to say that I jumped at the chance to attend this event and experience that uniqueness that Goa has to offer.
A Little Bit About Goa
Goa is not your typical Indian destination to go to, because of its history of colonial rulers it has various cultural influences that can be seen even today, especially the Portuguese and Indian influences that can be seen throughout Goa.
Those that have heard of Goa may know it to be a beach party destination mixed with a hippy influence and when doing my research online those were the first things that came up on google. Throughout this post I hope to show you that Goa is so much more…
What Is the Goa International Travel Mart (GITM 2019)?
The Goa International Travel Mart is a three-day event which was held at the Doctor Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor stadium and hosted by Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant as well as various others within the Goa Tourism Board.
The event is designed to bring travel agents, buyers, world-wide media, content creators and various brands operating within the travel and tourism sector together to network and promote tourism within Goa. If you’ve ever attended The World Travel Market London (WTML) it’s a smaller, more condensed local version of that.
The main goal of the Goa tourism board was to highlight that Goa is not just a beach resort but a prime location for many different kind’s tourists and tourism activities such as; medical, cultural, historical, adventure, food and beverage, which I will go into more details about further down in this post.
What Goa Has to Offer
Whilst attending the Goa International Travel Mart, I went to various conferences which not only highlighted what Goa currently has to offer, but there were conferences discussing future plans for the increase and development of tourism within Goa.
All Year-Round Destination
Goa has two very distinct seasons; the dry season which falls between October and May which is great for those that want a holiday for festivals, sun, sand and sea or just to relax by the pool and the wet season which falls between June and September where there is still plenty to do, especially for those who like adventure tourism such as rafting, there are also monsoon festivals and during the monsoon season Goa is less busy during the peak summer season.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post Goa has a rich history of colonial rulers who have all left their mark throughout Goa, which means tourists can visit such places such as the old town Goa which is the former capital or Portuguese India, you can also take a walk through some of the Spice Plantations and you can also visit the flea markets.
If adventure travel is more your thing Goa has something for both seasons during the summer you can go; scuba diving, bungee jumping, biking and more and during the monsoon season visitors can go white water rafting along the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary,
There is entertainment for all ages and tastes in Goa from Casinos, live music, tours and even the hotels have family activities such as kids clubs, cooking lessons etc … Not forgetting the opportunity to fly over Goa in a hot air balloon, ride around on an electric bike or moped and even a hop on, hop off bus.
Wildlife & Nature
As well as its beautiful beaches where if you’re lucky enough you might be able to see some dolphins, Goa also has a number of wildlife sanctuaries where you can find beautiful views, waterfalls and exotic birds, Leopards, monkeys, bears and more. Don’t’ forget the cows that roam the streets and are thought of as religious animals across India.
Food & Beverage
Goa has a lot to offer when it comes to food and beverages. Goa has its very own whisky distillery where you can visit and go for whisky tasting sessions. But for me, one of my favourite parts of Goa is the cuisine because Goa has such an infusion of Indian and Portuguese influences, it’s hard not to find something to melt your taste buds.
Medical and Wellness
Up until this trip I was unaware just how much Goa has to offer in the way of medical tourism from world class medical facilities, trained professionals and affordable treatments. Part of being healthy is wellness and Goa has no shortage of spas and yoga retreats.
Networking Events at the Goa International Travel Mart
One of the main highlights for me as a content creator was the Networking at the Goa International Travel Mart, I was able to not only connect with very talented members of the press and media, but I was also able to have one to one meetings with various exhibitors and make those initial connections who wanted to work with me as much as I wanted to work with them on some exciting future projects for 2020.
Experiencing Goan Hospitality
Attending the Goa International Travel Mart was not all business focused, we were also invited to experience Goa and its culture. Unfortunately, due to the heavy rain from the cyclone we couldn’t experience everything that Goa had to offer, but what we did get to experience, I genuinely enjoyed and that includes;
The Goa International Travel Mart was officially opened with an evening event which involved some amazing dance performances from the students from the performing arts school, live music from a band. A tasty buffet with local delicacies was laid on for us and of course the official opening speech for the Director of Tourism and other figures within the tourism department.
I genuinely didn’t expect to see casinos in Goa if I am honest, but we were lucky enough to have been hosted by the Deltin casino group, where I am pleased to say that I did win some money on roulette.
Fun Fact: There are two kinds of casinos in Goa the ones that are on land that can only have computer gaming and the ones that are on luxury boats on the river that have live and computer gaming. I actually went to the one on the river that had live entertainment as well.
Bambolim Beach Resort
We were also invited to Bambolim Beach resort that although one of the oldest resorts in Goa is fully refurbished with a prime location on the beach, with plenty of Instagramable views as well as a whole host of things to do with the hotel. I have to give these guys a big shout out for the fantastic entertainment, fabulous cocktails and buffet the provided we were all made to feel very welcome.
The Awadh House
Probably my number one experience of the whole trip was the invite to Awadh House which is a newly opened restaurant in one of Goas oldest houses. Other members of the media and I were treated to various starters, main courses and desserts all equally as tasty as the one before. I would personally recommend that this is a must go place to eat when visiting Goa.
Final Thoughts of My Goa Adventure
I really enjoyed Goa and I do feel that this destination has a lot to offer for all ages, it’s somewhere that I plan on going back to in 2020 and would love to promote more within my own blog and beyond.
Lisa is the owner of the Travel and food blog One Epic Road Trip. Based in London, Lisa has over 18 years experience within the Travel and Tourism industry working as an Entertainments Manager on Holiday Parks, Hotels and at sea within the UK and Europe. She continues with her passion for travel through her blog and soon to be launched travel vlog.
Disclaimer: Please note that I was invited to Goa as international press to cover the Goa Travel Mart. Lisa has traveled to India on my behalf and is sharing her unbiased opinions about her experience in Goa.
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