Beach shacks pack up in Goa due to COVID-19 outbreak
Panaji, Apr 04: With borders sealed and sea shores completely deserted amid the coronavirus outbreak, Goa's signature beach shacks have packed up their business two months before the tourist season usually comes to an end.
The tourism stakeholders here claim that the season was a complete wash out and the next one is likely to meet a worst fate because of the pandemic.
The coastal state is the most sought-after tourist destination, especially during summer holidays, when both domestic and international tourists flock to its beaches.
"Most of the shacks have been packed up. This was supposed to be the peak time. The season started with a slump in arrivals and ended with coronavirus," Manuel Cardozo, president of All Goa Traditional Shack Owners' Association told PTI.
Cardozo owns a shack on Baga-Calangute beach belt, one of the most popular hotspots for tourist activities, but it now wears a deserted look in light of the lockdown.
"Shacks are usually removed by May 31. But people got them dismantled in March itself," he said.
Beach shacks are temporary structures, which are removed during monsoon, only to be set up again for the next tourist season.
"We don't expect the next season to bring any cheers.
Coronavirus is going to hit the economy. People will avoid travelling for a while," he deduced.
The situation is no different in the more sedate and laidback South Goa district.
Cruz Cardozo, president of All Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society, said, "Travel is always secondary in times like this. Under the present circumstances all our livelihoods are in danger," he said.
Foreign travellers would save up for an entire year to holiday in Goa, he recalls.
However, the Travel and Tours Association of Goa (TTAG) claimed that the situation will improve post this health crisis.
"People are holed up in their homes. Once all this is over, they will want to move out and de-stress. There is no better place than Goa. They can enjoy on the beach and party," TTAG president Savio Messias said.