Dull tourism ?

| 21 December 2000 22:28 IST

The spirit is not dampened but everyone seen crying for tourists. Contrary to this, the official figures indicate a further rise in the number of tourists visiting Goa while the peak season of Christmas is approaching fast.

Goa, the tiny state known for its golden beaches as well as fun and frolic till late night, pulls little less than 10 lakh domestic tourists and over 2.85 lakh foreigners from all over the World, especially from the European countries.

It was a mega flop last year though Goa was projected as the topmost destination for the millennium bash. Hoteliers here created an artificial hype of bookings in order to hike the room tariff. It boomeranged as tourists preferred other places than Goa.

Though it has been a good beginning since August this year for the first two months, the number of foreign tourists has dropped by almost 700 in October while hardly 1000 more domestic tourists have arrived here the same month.

Though November figures are still unavailable, the rate of charter tourists alone are also not found to be alarming. In fact, compared to 73 flights and around 18,000 charter tourists reported last year in December, hardly 5000 tourists have come down in 33 flights in the first fortnight.

Even the state tourism department is not confident of achieving its target of 425 charter flights, the highest ever projected till date. The state received 405 charters last year and almost 95,000 package tourists.

"The number is the same even this year. But it is not felt because of disproportionate rise in numbers of rooms and restaurants", points out James Roy, general manager of UVI Holidays charter operator, dismissing the contention that the ongoing season is the worst one. He however does not deny the fact that foreigners nowadays prefer Kerala.

"In fact our government is not gearing up to counter the threat posed by the vigorous promotion campaign taken up by the Kerala government", complains Seby D'Souza, the president of the All Goa Shack Owners' Association.

Running a shack hatched with palm leaves on the Candolim-Calangute beach, D'Souza's only hope now is the foreign tourists who come down here for Christmas and stay on for the full month of January.

In addition, the ship grounded off Candolim-Calangute beach has affected the industry substantially, though the oil spill has stopped long ago. With the government still undecided over towing away or breaking of the ship on shore, its future would decide future of the season next year.

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