Panaji : Although the state has got into the peak tourist season, the scenario appears to be bleak for the tourism industry as the arrival of tourists, especially foreigners, has been much below the expectation.
With an estimated 40-50 per cent drop in foreign tourist arrivals so far and no fallback from the domestic segment, the ongoing season of 2019-20 looks altogether poor, said the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa on Tuesday.
Hoteliers said that although they are anticipating an improvement in tourist arrivals in December the pickup is likely to be inconsequential as room rates are being lowered across accommodations.
“About 60 per cent of the hotels in the northern belt are facing poor occupancy due to the crash in the foreign charter market. Due to subdued domestic footfalls they have started lowering the rates,” said Shekhar Diwadkar, business head, hospitality division, at the city-based Delmon Hotel.
Diwadkar said the industry is headed for a price war, and most hotels do not expect to match the budget of the previous year.
The slowdown in domestic tourist arrivals is due to the combined effect of excess rainfall and floods, and cyclone in the state.
Several hotels have noted tourists from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka cancelling bookings, he said. Hotels in South Goa are equally affected by the decline in arrival of the visitors.
General manager at the Colva-based Bay Watch Resorts Sanjay Naik said, “Hotels are getting business at the desired rates. Thanks to the poor market situation, the state has become a cheap destination in peak season.”
Industry experts are blaming the tourism department for not marketing the state properly. The ‘Go Goa 365 Day’ promo line is hardly heard these days. Almost all states – Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Manipur, etc – are promoting tourism on TV, but not Goa.
“We think we are too big. Tourists know that the situation is bad so they are bargaining and bringing down the rates,” the experts reckoned.
Total tourist arrivals in 2018 at 80,15,400 had grown only by 2.9 per cent compared to 22 per cent in 2017. The modest growth had been due to the decline in the arrival of domestic tourists who are the mainstay of the industry.
In the foreign tourist segment, charter flights had decreased by 17 per cent and had been made up to some extent by non-charter sightseers.
In the ongoing season, the British charter segment has been badly affected by the collapse of UK travel company Thomas Cook while the Russian charters are not looking good either.
Unlike other tourist destinations, Goa has not developed its ‘foreign individual travel’ properly, the stakeholders opined.