GOA: WHERE’S THE MONEY? THERE ARE ONLY PEOPLE, SAYS TOURISM INDUSTRY
Panaji (Goa) While Goa will host night long beach parties in the run up for the New Year celebrations, the tourism industry claims that “there is a crowd but no business.”
The drive-in culture, which has set in off late amongst the visitors, have severely dented the economy of the tourism trade in the coastal state which is known for its beaches.
The people usually travel down from neighbouring places in their own vehicles and drive back next morning, leaving no much economic activity for the tourism stakeholders.
“There is less crowd during December 27, 28 and 29. We expect the footfalls to increase during the last two days of the year,” Michael Lobo, BJP legislator representing Calangute constituency said.
He said that though there are people on the beaches, they don’t contribute much for the economy as they are “drive-in from neighouring states who like to spend their night in their own vehicles before going back next morning.”
Lobo said that the business of restaurant is severely affected as visitors with low budget holiday plans opt for street food, not turning into the restaurants which are dotting the coastline.
He said that the guest houses and room-to-let accommodations are having very poor response while three-star resorts have managed to attract the crowd by slashing their room rates. “The occupancy in four and five star resorts is also not promising,” he said.
Lobo attributed the low turnout during December 27, 28 and 29 to absence of Sunburn, an EDM which was being annually held in Goa till last year.
“Sunburn is replaced by new multi-genre music festival TIMEOUT72 but it has failed to gather crowd during its first year of presence in the State,” he said.
The tourism stakeholders echo the version of Lobo stating that there is less crowd on the beaches but it does not translate into business.
“What do you expect restaurants to do when visitors are happy eating street side `vada-pav’ and giving a break to their meal in restaurant?,” said Salvador Fernandes owning a restaurant at Calangute beach.
He said that the trend of getting high spending tourists in Goa has curtailed and currently the destination gets only low-spending tourists who arrive here with shoestring budget.
“The last week of year used to be a jam-packed affair for Goa’s coastal belt, but the situation has changed now. The number of foreigners have also decreased over the years,” said Fernandes.
Legal counsel for Russian Consulate in Mumbai Vikram Varma, however, said that around 30,000-40,000 Russians would be celebrating their New Year in Goa this time.
“Around 30,000-40,000 Russians would be celebrating their New Year on the beaches of Goa while their numbers will increase in the days to come,” he said.
Russians will celebrate their Christmas on January 6 and New Year on January 9back in their country. He said total 1.4 lakh Russians are expected to visit Goa during the year.