The number of visitors has gone down by almost 50 per cent this time, they said while expressing hope that more tourists will come during the New Year celebration next week.
Protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in various parts of the country have resulted in less tourist footfalls in Goa this Christmas season as compared to previous years, industry stakeholders said on Tuesday. The number of visitors has gone down by almost 50 per cent this time, they said while expressing hope that more tourists will come during the New Year celebration next week.
“Protests against the amended citizenship law have affected tourist arrivals during this Christmas season. Occupancy in hotels has been badly hit and beach shack owners are also getting less customers,” Goa Shack Owners’ Welfare Society president Cruz Cardoso told PTI. He said shacks were set up before the Christmas season but they have been lying vacant as hardly any tourists are walking in.
More than 300 shacks were erected along the 105-km stretch of Goa’s beaches for the tourist season, which starts in October and ends before the monsoon in June every year. “The Christmas season is going to be dull this year. We are hoping the New Year festivities will bring in some cheers to the tourism industry,” Cardoso said.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), an umbrella organisation of tourism stakeholders, said occupancy in hotels is just about 50 per cent during this festival time. “There is a decrease in number of both international and domestic tourists,” TTAG president Savio Messias said.
“Protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act could be one of the reasons for this downfall,” he said. Messias said international tourists have started avoiding visits to Goa during the Christmas and New Year time due to the crowded beaches.
Meanwhile, Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo said all the stakeholders should come together and find a solution for the issues plaguing the tourism sector in the coastal state. “TTAG, Goa Tourism Development Corporation and other stakeholders should meet at least once in a fortnight to discuss the issues and find a solution for it,” said the MLA from Calangute constituency.
Lobo’s Assembly segment comprises some of the most popular beaches like Sinquerim, Calangute, Candolim and Baga in North Goa district. State tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar was not available for comments.
However, a senior official from the department said efforts were on to revive the tourist season in the state. “Special efforts are being made to ensure good tourist footfalls. Some factors are beyond government’s control, but whatever is possible is being done,” he said. Goa attracts nearly six million tourists every year, as per official figures.