Published on : Monday, December 31, 2018
Messias, whose organisation, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, is one of the oldest travel and industry collectives in the state, said that if concerns of the tourism industry are not addressed soon, it may meet the fate of the state’s mining industry, which has been virtually defunct for six years due to excessive exploitation of natural resources and poor management.
Messias told that this season has not been up to the expectations at all. The hotel bookings are around 50 per cent, whereas some years ago, it used to be nearly fully booked during the Christmas and New Year period.
Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country, attracting more than seven million tourists in recent years.
The barometer of a good tourism season has invariably been the Christmas-New Year festive week, when a bulk of the tourists make a beeline to Goa.
But this year and, to some extent the season of 2017-18, has been a dampener to the tourism and travel industry in state.
While the Tourism Department has claimed, that it was unable to provide official statistics of tourist arrivals up to December this year, travel industry experts claim that arrival of foreign tourists, especially those from the UK and Russia, who form bulk of the numbers, have dropped to 30 per cent from 50 per cent.
Similar is the case with Russia, whose outbound tourists are rushing to other winter tourism markets such as Egypt and Turkey, which were slack over the last few years due to volatile socio-political conditions in the respective countries. He also listed a range of factors which have cast a gloom on the festive spirit of Goa. The airline fares to and from Goa and local hotel costs also shoot up during peak period, which deter domestic tourists from travelling to Goa, when a package to destinations such as Sri Lanka and Thailand are cheaper. One of the biggest problems, Messias said, has been the impact of Goods and Services Tax on the trade.
Messias also said, that there needs to be a comprehensive study of the state’s carrying capacity vis-a-vis tourists, if the industry does not wish to go the way of more haphazardly managed sectors such as mining, real estate and taxi operations.