The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has hit the tourism industry in Goa badly, however, with the inter-state borders open, tourism in the state is picking up.
In neighbouring Maharashtra beaches there were hardly any tourists due to the pandemic but with the opening of the borders some of the tourists coming to the state are moving to the Maharashtra beaches generating revenue for the locals there.
The Kiranpani-Aronda bridge connects the Goa-Maharashtra villages and the once isolated little beaches of Maharashtra are becoming famous and sought after making them alternate tourism destination. Many tourists go to the bordering beaches in Maharashtra like the Shiroda beach which is more popularly known as the Paradise beach, Redi beach, Vengurla beach, and Mochemaad beach.
Ground level check reveals that, the number of tourists over the years in Maharashtra have been increasing and eating into the earnings of tourism operators in Goan beaches like Arambol, Ashwem- Mandrem, Keri and Morjim.
When asked a local from Maharashtra village said a few years back the beaches here used to lonely with no business. But now the things are changing with several tourists coming to these beaches from Goa. “It has increased our business. Locals here are earning and getting jobs due to the tourists arrivals from Goa as the Goan border is not even at an hour’s distance from some beaches here,” he said.
According to the information available from the sources, the beach hotels in the neighbouring state are attracting the tourists with tempting prices which are cheaper than the Goan hotels. The rate is highly affordable for middle-income tourists and many a time the rates is less by 20 to 30 percent and some even offer hotel rooms as much as 50 per cent cheaper.
Where in Goa one small single room may cost Rs 2000 to 5000 near the beach, a similar room on the Maharashtra beaches cost the tourists as low as Rs 1,200 to Rs 4000 per night making it a good deal for them. At times hotels in Maharashtra are ready to give the rooms at less than half the price which is also a reason for the movement of the tourists.
According to the information available from the sources, there is need to improve the quality of the basic infrastructure in Goa and ensure the cleanliness of the state and its unique identity. It may be noted that every tourist destination survives on its unique identity. Besides cleanliness Goa also needs to improve its public mode of transportation, possibly by improveming the taxi and bus services to tourist destinations within the state. “Tourism is the premier industry in Goa. The industry employs lakhs of people and several families are sustained out of the revenues generated by tourism. We need to improve the services offered to the tourists which will attract quality tourists,” said a tour operator.
“In the earlier days the bordering villages of Maharashtra and its beaches could be reached by a ferry service and so hardly anyone used to travel to the beaches. However the bridge between Kiranpani and Araonda has made travelling easy between the two states. It has given rise to the tourism in the other state and this has started to have adverse effect on our economy as more and more foreign as well as domestic tourists have started making their way to these beaches and we have become helpless. In no way we can stop the tourists from going to these neighbouring state beaches,” said a local.
The local also went on to say that it is becoming an alternative destination for the tourists and several advertisements, posters, banners attracting the tourists to these Maharashtra beaches can be seen from the Goa end, viz. near the bridge. Once the tourists come to know about the places they go to the places. Tourists also make day trips. Some go in the morning and come back to Goa while some stay there as accommodation and hotels have come up in Maharashtra beaches.
It may be noted that both domestic and foreign visit the bordering Maharashtra beaches, a domestic tourist went to say that the food on the Maharashtra beaches which are close to the Goa border is cheaper.
“The food is similar. The fish curry rice which is famous in Goa is also available. However the rates of the same food item is found to be cheaper in Maharashtra as compared to the Goan hotels. There are several small big hotels along the roadside serving good meals at reasonable prices here which has attracted us. We can travel to the Goan beaches whenever needed and stay at the Maharashtra hotels which are cheaper as compared to Goan hotels,” said a tourist.
While another tourist said that the Paradise beach is the most crowded beach. It makes the most business and by attracting several tourists, especially foreign tourists who come to Goa. The beach being long and with finest, soft sand is very popular.
There are beaches in Maharashtra which are untouched and undisturbed. The tourists arrive for bird watching and because of cleanliness which is hard to find in Goa some tourists prefer to visit Maharashtra.
Some of the tourists who come to stay especially for a longtime go for marketing at the weekly bazaar in Maharashtra bordering villages like Aronda and Shiroda as in these bazaars variety of local items are available at reasonable rates.