'Christmas tourist arrivals in Goa have dropped by 30 per cent'
Panaji, December 24: Tourists usually throng Goa during Christmas but this year seem to have given the coastal state a miss, as both foreign and domestic tourist arrivals have dropped 30 per cent, a local industry association said on Sunday.
Goa is known for its night-long parties which begin from Christmas (December 25) and continue till December 31 mid-night.
"As far as Christmas is concerned, there has been drop in foreign and domestic tourist arrival by almost 30 per cent compared to last year," Savio Messiah, President, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), told PTI.
Messiah claimed that the factors "like GST" have affected the high-end tourists while many have refused to come because of the "high air-fares" and "high cost of holiday" in the state. Messiah said the situation will hopefully improve during the New Year celebrations with more people arriving in the state.
However, Goa tourism department claims the tourists have just begun arriving and the number would go up during the coming week. "The tourists have already begun arriving in the state. We expect more footfall this week. You can see yourself how streets are abuzz with the guests," the state's Tourism Director Menino D'Souza said.
While D'Souza refused to quantify the number of tourists expected to visit Goa during the next week, a senior department official said the tourism industry trends indicate that more than four lakh tourists will usher in the New Year in the state.
While popular Electronic Dance Music festivals Sunburn and Supersonic have abstained from Goa this season, TIMOUT72, a new event, is scheduled to be held at Vagator in North Goa between December 27-29.
The beach shack owners, who recently went through a tough time due to Cyclone Ockhi, have got back on their feet and are expecting a good business.
"The shack owners have forgotten about the cyclone. They have reconstructed their structures and are waiting for a good tourist season," said Cruz Cardoso, President, Shack Owners' Welfare Society. He said the number of tourists arriving at the beaches is expected to surpass last year's figures.
Cardoso said tourists have started arriving on the beaches and a majority of them are domestic travellers. "There is not much response from the international tourists," he claimed.