'Amphibious vessel rides for tourists in Goa soon'

Panaji: Tourists arriving in Goa will soon be able to glide as well as drive around the state's rivers and countryside with ease in amphibious vessels, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said on Wednesday. Speaking to IANS, Parulekar said the country's first tourism-related amphibious craft service would be operational well before Goa's tourism season starts in October this year. "We are already conducting extensive trial runs, where the vessels are being tested both on roads as well as rivers, where they will be eventually operating for tourism purposes," Parulekar said, adding that a soft launch of the three amphibian buses would be carried our later this month. "We have already obtained a majority of the permissions required from government agencies, both state and central, for the operation of the amphibian service," Parulekar said. The service would be promoted by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation, a government-run agency, which functions under the aegis of the state tourism ministry. Parulekar also said that the purpose of starting the amphibian bus service was to create more options for tourists to explore the state, other than just beaches and nightlife. Goa, one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country, attracts around four million tourists of which half a million are inbound foreign travellers.