Panaji, Jun 15 :  With the arrival of rains making beaches less attractive among visitors, Goa tourism department is banking on its traditional monsoon festivals to increase footfalls in the coastal state. “The arrival of tourists has not receded. The weekends are full. Hotels are having 70 per cent occupancy on weekends,” Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said. The tourism department expects the footfalls to rise during this monsoon compared to the last rainy season due to the aggressive marketing and increasing popularity of the state among domestic travellers, he said. Parulekar said the tourism department, which has been organising events like trekking and white water river rafting, is also banking on its traditional monsoon festivals which are unique and are a major tourist attraction. Also Read: Indian Navy’s all-women crew sails from Goa to Port Louis in Mauritius on board Mhadei Also Read - Shubho Shasthi 2020: Understanding the Significance of Maha Shashti, Date and Vidhi

The season will start with ‘Sao Joao’ festival on June 24 which is dedicated to St John the Baptist, he said. “During the festival, people jump in the water bodies and celebrate the arrival of monsoons. We have already begun offering packages for the festival and advertising it to the domestic and international tourists,” the minister said. On the same day, the state will celebrate ‘jackfruit festival’ at Succoro village, about 10 kms from Panaji near Porvorim suburb. Also Read - Goa Travel News For Adventure Enthusiasts: New Rules For Water Sports And Cruises as State Increases Activities

“This is an occasion to?savour Goa’s choicest jackfruits and the scrumptious items made from it,” he said. On June 29, the monsoon-based ‘Sangodd’ by Goa’s local fishing community will be celebrated wherein the boats are tied together to form rafts, which serve as makeshift stages. “On these stages miniature models of chapels and churches are erected,” Parulekar said, adding that this festival is celebrated across the state. In July, there will be ‘Chikalkalo’, a traditional mud festival celebrated in Marcel village, about 15 kms from here. The other monsoon festivals include?Cucumber Feast, and Bonderam, a flag festival at Diwar island near Panaji, he added. Also Read - Anticipating Backlash, BJP Turns Off 'Dislike' Button on YouTube Channel Amid PM Modi's Address to The Nation