Goa facing an unexpected tourism crisis

 Thursday, April 29, 2021 


With lockdown in neighboring states, night curfew, shortened frequency of flights, ban on international passenger charter, closed hotels, and a continuous spike in Covid-19 active cases and deaths, Goa is facing an unexpected tourism crisis.

Almost 2,100 of the total registered 3,500 hotels have closed their shutters, and 5-star hotels have slashed their rates by almost 40-50% with a meager occupancy rate of 5-10%. Footfalls in casinos are also trifling, and car/bike rental companies are also witnessing much less bookings.

In the middle of this pandemic and loss of livelihood, the only impetus are the 15 film/television serial units that are in Goa for regular shoots, and families/couples who have shifted their base to Goa for longer period than the typical five-day or weekend rentals.

Nilesh N. Shah, President, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) opined, “Of the total 3,500 registered hotels in Goa, only 1,400 are open. Most 1-4 star hotels remain closed because of ban on international charter flights. Right now, the biggest demand is for 5-star hotels as high-end tourists feel safer in branded hotels. Boat business has gone down by 40% and shacks that earlier closed in May, locked their doors in March this year.”

Shah attributed this low tourist footfall to lockdown and increasing Covid cases in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi that earlier fetched domestic tourists in Goa. “From almost 80 flights bringing in 11,500 tourists every day, the numbers have now dwindled to 3,500 a day. While on a good day, flights landed with 70-80% seat occupancy, currently the load is less than 30-35%. A few flights are almost empty and the airlines have had no choice but to cancel or combine flights,” Shah added.

Similar to hotels, casinos in Goa are witnessing a downtime. Both onshore and offshore casinos, which were once one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state, are witnessing an enormous plunge in arrivals.

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