Published on : Friday, April 9, 2021
Covid-19’s reappearance has virtually killed Goa tourism industry’s hopes of a strong end to the season, forcing establishments to close down early. Tourism witnessed robust revival between last November and January but is now hit by cancelations and plunge in bookings with increasing infections, especially in states that are enriching Goa tourism, like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Delhi.
“The sector is witnessing a steep slowdown and we expect that to continue for at least another two months. One of the first victims of the rising number (of infections) is going to be optional travel with people either postponing travel themselves or being advised against travelling,” said Nilesh Shah, the president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa.
“The slowdown began in the month of March despite a brief spurt in arrivals on account of the Holi weekend and has continued its downward trend since then,” Shah said. Hoteliers and shack owners, too, have reported declining visitors.
“Our numbers (of footfalls) have witnessed a steep fall over the past few weeks and we don’t expect them to rise further this season. Even among the tourists that do come, we do not see anybody following protocol, which also puts us at risk,” said John Lobo, a shack owner.
Goa’s tourism season starts with the monsoon leaving in October and usually dwindles towards the end of May as foreigners return home and domestic travelers choose cooler climes. Last year, around 25-lakh tourists visited Goa till December, a little over a quarter of normal arrivals, and this indicated that tourism was slowly picking up after easing of travel restrictions after the lockdown. Before the pandemic, Goa witnessed nearly 90-lakh tourists including around 9-lakh foreigners.
Following the pandemic, potential loss for the 2020-21 season has been estimated at Rs. 7,239 crore and potential job cuts amounted to around 1.22 lakh (58%).