SHOMA PATNAIK | NT
Hoping for a rise in footfalls of Indian vacationers, stakeholders in the travel and hospitality industry on Tuesday said the coming weekend is likely to witness a surge of domestic tourists in the state.
The stakeholders said the current season has started off on a slightly slow note. But it is likely to pick up over the next two-three days due to the arrival of travellers from other states.
“It looks to be busy seasons this weekend as lots of hotels are showing high occupancy,” said Ernest Dias, chief operating officer, Sita Travels and TCI.
Dias said that most of his clients prefer coastal areas of north and south Goa where hotels are showing occupancy as high as 90 per cent over the approaching weekend.
Hoteliers expected the season to revive as school and college vacations have kicked in across the country.
“’Weekend tourism’ has become a hallmark of Goa tourism, and we are anticipating a weekend rush from Indian tourists,” a hotelier said expecting less foreign tourists.
Flood-affected Kerala is working in favour of the state tourism, quipped the stakeholders.
“Kerala’s loss is Goa’s gain,” said Mohammed Azhar, a general manager at the city-based Hotel Fidalgo.
He said the crossing out of Kerala from tour operators’ advisories is benefitting Goan hotels in a big way.
“From November 9 onwards until the next nine days we are at nearly 100 per cent occupancy due to domestic tourists,” Azhar said, adding that most of the city hotels are seeing similar boost in occupancy post-Diwali.
The state is likely to witness a 30-40 per cent drop in foreign charters, according to the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa.
“The industry is concerned over the drop in charters, but the domestic segment remains healthy,” TTAG president Savio Messias said, adding that the arrival of domestic tourists look healthy in all segments such as weddings, conferences and events in the ongoing season.
Tourism in Goa has been totally driven by domestic tourists. In 2017, the state received 77.85 lakh tourists of which about 89 per cent were fellow Indians while the remaining 11 per cent foreigners.
The number of foreign charters in 2017-18 was 961 flights, which brought in 2.47 lakh foreigners.
“We are doing only 40 per cent of the business that we did this time last year,” said Cruz Cardozo, a shack owner and president of the Goa Shack Owners Association.
He said that so far the tourist arrivals look to be less.
“But with hotels expecting high occupancy over the weekend we are hopeful of good business,” Cardozo said.
“Domestic tourists are looking strong during the weekends and rest of the season. We can see a drop in foreign tourists but hopefully the trend will change by the end of the month,” Dias said.