Goa’s tourism industry cries over no business crowd this year

With Goa set to host the night-long beach parties in the run-up to the New Year celebrations, the tourism industry […]

   

With Goa set to host the night-long beach parties in the run-up to the New Year celebrations, the tourism industry is complaining that there is only crowd this year who bring in no business at all and has blamed the drive-in culture that is on the rise for their plight. The drive-in culture, which has set in off-late amongst the visitors, has severely dented the economy in the coastal state known for its beaches and the number of visitors outnumbering the local residents by a wide margin. “There was far fewer crowd this year during the key days of December 27, 28 and 29. But, we expect the footfalls to increase during the last two days of the year,” BJP MLA Michael Lobo, who owns three resorts, told PTI. He says though there are people on the beaches, they do not contribute much to their business as they are “drive-in visitors from neighbouring states who spend their nights in their own cars before packing back the next morning.” Other stakeholders also echo Lobo stating that there is less crowd on the beaches this year and even those fewer crowd is not translating into business. “What do you expect restaurants to do when visitors are happy eating street side vada-pavs?” asks Salvador Fernandes who owns a restaurant at Calangute, a beach known for low-budget visitors. He says the government bid to get high spending tourists has in fact worked against the very objective as the move has curtailed overall arrivals resulting in the state now getting only tourists who come on shoestring budget. “Normally, the last week of year used to be a jam-packed affair for the state, but the situation has changed now. The number of foreigners have also come down over the years,” rues Fernandes. Lobo says the restaurant business is also severely hit as visitors with low-budget tourists opting for street food, and not turning into the restaurants which are dotting the coastline. He says guest houses and room-to-let accommodations are also facing very poor footfalls this year while three-star resorts somehow manage to attract the crowd but by slashing their room rates. “The occupancy in 4 and 5-star resorts is also not promising,” he rues. Lobo blames the low turnout to the absence of Sunburn, an EDM festival that was being held annually till last year. “Sunburn is replaced by new multi-genre music festival TimeOut72 but it has failed to gather crowd during its first year,” he claims. Vikram Varma, the legal counsel for Russian consulate in Mumbai, however, says 30,000-40,000 Russians would be celebrating their New Year in Goa this time as well. “I see 30,000-40,000 Russians flying into the state to celebrate their New Year this year as well and the number will only increase in the days to come,” he says, adding as much as 1.4 lakh Russians are expected to visit the state during the course of the year.