Panaji – Monsoon tourism has become a huge hit with the domestic travellers as they refuse to get away from beaches even in the heavy rains. Goa’s beaches remains flooded with the tourists, even though visiting the coastal state during wet spell was the idea initially disagreed by them. The State Government, therefore, launched the monsoon tourism initiative.
The tourism industry which expects thumbs down for the official tourist season, which will begin two months later, is witnessing large number of domestic visitors usually on the weekends. The number of domestic visitors has soared in Goa with State Government officials indicating that this is a good omen for the tourism industry which had kept its fingers crossed over the next season.
“Our hotels are full. In cities like Panaji, Margao and even Mapusa, the hotels have 100 per cent accommodations,” Elvis Gomes, Managing Director, Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), stated. The state government-run GTDC owns 13 properties across the state including one at Calangute, which is chock-a-block, due to its location just on the beach.
The state saw unprecedented rush by domestic tourists this weekend, which had three days holiday following Independence Day. The tourist places like Boat cruise spots, beaches and city markets were abuzz with the tourists who even braved the heavy rains to enjoy their holiday. The tourism officials feel that such a huge inflow has come as a surprise for the industry which is feeling the pinch of being expensive destination.
Goa’s leading tour operators’ union, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, has anticipated 20 per cent shortfall in the tourism, beginning from October. The charter flights arrivals is also expected to crush down. “The state should not have an issue with this as it is already a popular destination amongst the domestic travelers,” a tourism official stated.
Goa attracts 25 lakh tourists, of which 21 lakh are domestic travelers who visit here from different states, most of them being from neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka. “There is a wrong notion which is being portrayed that international tourists spend much and they check in the five star hotels. There is a large number of domestic clienteles who spend more then the average international traveler. There are Gujarati and north Indian guests who prefer five star hotels,” a tourism official stated.
While the State Government is fighting back the drowning death menace in the monsoon, there is a huge rush on the beaches, which are right now sans lifeguards. “The process of recruiting lifeguards is on and it will drastically reduce the deaths due to drowning on the beaches.. We have already launched an awareness campaign to educate visitors about hazards of swimming in choppy sea,” Lindon Monteiro, officer on special duty to tourism minister, Fransisco Pacheco, said.