Herald: Tourism stakeholders witness poor sales during peak season

Tourism stakeholders witness poor sales during peak season

12 Jan 2019 04:40am IST
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12 Jan 2019 04:40am IST
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The tourism season has been marked by a record drop in the number of international and domestic tourists which does not make for an exciting time. This had an effect on sales on Dec 31. AJIT JOHN spoke to outlets around the State to gain an understanding of the situation on the ground

It is a time to celebrate the passing of the old and the entry of the new. The passing a year that was marked by a depressed economy and a distinct absence in decision making at the highest level. However the festival season is a time to loosen the purse strings and enjoy. To let go of the worries that bedevil the mind the rest of the year. So, did the tourists and residents of Goa welcome the New Year with a good party or was it a damn squib?

A walk around Panjim and talking to outlets that stay open late into the night revealed a very distressing tale. A national ice cream brand which recently shifted its address was open well past the witching hour in the expectation of good sales but was left disappointed after it registered meagre sales. 

The sales counter staff who is not authorised to speak to the press said “We have missed the monthly target, we have a daily target for the number of cups to be sold and that has not been achieved. It was a really poor month sales wise and was a complete change from our experience in 2017 when sales on Dec 31 was very good. We had people coming in consistently through the night, sadly not this time”.

An outlet retailing chocolate pastries stayed open till 5 o clock in anticipation of good sales but was left disappointed by the response. Sanjay S a member of the counter staff said it was a very disappointing night with sales numbers registered just like any other night. Sanjay said “Last year in 2017, it was very hectic on Dec 31. The outlet was packed and we had people walking in and out of the place. This time it was very disappointing. I would say there was a 60% drop in sales.  It was just like any other night”.

The reason for this rather poor state of affairs could perhaps be the dramatic drop in the number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting the State. A very popular hotel on 18 June road which has a very popular restaurant witnessed a dramatic drop in sales. 

The restaurant manager said “Last year on Dec 31 2017, I did Rs 1 lakh worth of business at the outlet. This time however I barely touched Rs 43,000. There were people that night but they were sitting and talking. People did not spend that much”.

Calls to outlets in Calangute revealed a similar picture with some refusing to even answer saying they just wanted to forget the whole experience which for them was very shocking. The manager of an outlet who was willing to speak on condition he was not identified said “It was the worst Dec 31 in several years. It was pathetic. Last year was great but this year has been like a bad dream.”

The same was the case in the south with outlets registering very poor sales.

Asked about this rather poor state of affairs, Savio Messias, president TTAG said “I got calls from outlets like Zeebop which witnessed a 70% drop in business that night over the previous year. The airport director had also complained that the number of tourists this time was very poor. You have to remember they have given out restaurants at the airport for very good rates and they also need footfalls. Bus operators also spoke to me about the poor response this time. I am yet to meet anyone who has been happy with the business. Some of the five-star properties in the south did quite well. With regards to occupancy they were around 70%.  The top end luxury hotels did very well it seems. With regards to Dec 31, they said it was better than last year but generally it was not very good. Maybe the luxury traveller still wants to come to Goa.” 

Asked how he could turn the situation around he said it was important to sort the situation out at the beaches. The prostitutes, the hijras, the drug trafficking, the eve teasing had to be cleaned out. They were things that needed to be sorted out in the short term and more detailed strategy in the long term. Talk to the centre on issues like the visa, the incentives for the airport, GST which had to be sorted out.

2018 is now past and many will thank it has but the problems that bedevil the industry still remain. And unless and until that is sorted out, the dip shall only continue.


 
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