Panaji Dec 25 (GCCurrentAffairs): As the Christmas and New Year season kicked off in the coastal tourism State of Goa, the industry stakeholders feel that there is a lack of response from the travellers to this beach destination this year.
While State Tourism Department too admits slump in the Hotel occupancies, they claim that the reason for reduction of tourists are various. State Tourism department said that all the arrangements are in place to welcome the visitors, and in the coming days, the number of footfalls is going to increase.
Goa has been favourite destination for the domestic and international travellers to usher in Christmas festivities and the New Year. The state with 27 per cent Christian population has colourful Christmas festivities, which can be equated to that of the Western countries.
The Tourism Stakeholders like Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) claimed that the response of the travellers for Christmas and the New Year is lackluster.
TTAG Chairman Savio Messiah said that it has become a trend that the tourist arrivals are declining year-on-year in the State, due to heavy taxation and high cost of the holiday here.
He said that the corrective measure needs to be taken by the governments in the Centre and State but it has not been happening. “The hotel occupancies are around 50-60 per cent this year, as against the conventional figure of 90-95 per cent,” Messiah said.
He said that the trend of slump in tourist arrival was witnessed even last year after introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST), which had hiked the room tariffs, exponentially.
“There has been reduction in the GST but that is not helping the industry to prep up the number of tourist arrivals,” he claimed adding that he do not see a bright Christmas and New Year Season for Goa.
Messiah said that the travel cost to Goa is also one of the reason as people find it cheaper to spend their holidays abroad compared to the western coastal state. He said the slump in international tourist arrivals has also impacted the industry.
The state with its unique culture of beach shacks has failed to attract the crowds on shoreline even on the Christmas Eve. Cruz Cardozo, who heads Shack Owners’ Welfare Society, a union of the beach shack owners, said that the outlets are wearing deserted look.
“Few Indian tourists have started arriving but overall there is a reduction in the business. We are hoping people to arrive for Christmas and New Year. The season is not looking as it was earlier,” he said.
The palm thatched beach shacks are one of the USP for State’s tourism industry, which are permitted on the shoreline only during the season. Cardozo said that the foreign tourist arrivals have gone down by 50 per cent and news about cancellations of various Chartered Flights is really worrying.
State Tourism Director Sanjiv Gadkar said that the dip in the occupancy is because of various factors. “But Goa is all set to welcome tourists who will arrive here for Christmas and New Year. The Season has just started and we are expecting many more tourists to arrive here,” he added.