24 Feb 2021  |   03:57am IST

Maharashtra COVID lockdown alarm causes ripples in Goa’s struggling tourism sector

The surge in the number of cases in Maharashtra, Karnataka could have a disastrous effect on the tourism industry in the state. Café spoke to hoteliers to ascertain their views
Maharashtra COVID lockdown alarm causes ripples in Goa’s struggling tourism sector

There are storm clouds

gathering on the horizon. And no, this is not a line from some Bollywood potboiler. As the number of cases of Covid 19 surge in various parts of the country notably Maharashtra and Karnataka to name just two states, the hospitality industry in Goa could be seeing dark days again. A decision could be made around the end of this month in Maharashtra with regards a complete lockdown. That could be quite disastrous for the industry.

Rajeev Kumar GM The Fern Kadamba said “There has been panic created by the government decision. We have lost business worth Rs 20 lakhs with three large conferences cancelled. Business was smooth from September and it was certainly growing and the last three months were very good. Now this is a shock to the business. The restrictions which will be in effect will be due to the negligence of the people”. This move will ensure that big corporate houses will pull back on expenditure he felt. People would continue to work from home now and he expected a great deal of fluctuation ion business. In his opinion, business now would take at least five to six months to pick up momentum.

Another hotelier and former President of TTAG, Savio Messias said quite a few people had booked way in advance and were now scared and looking at options of cancelling because of the situation in Mumbai and other places. He said “I spoke to couple of people from the industry who are now very worried about how the situation will pan out. I know for a fact that in Mumbai, some people have had to cancel weddings; fines are being imposed on those not wearing a mask. The situation is very fluid. Anything can happen. Our fate is now tied to how the other states deal with the increasing number of cases.”

Tito Proenca who has hotels based in Arpora and Calangute said business was steady at his properties but there was a possibility of cancellations if the number of cases increased. He said “If there are new cases in Maharashtra it will affect us in the coming months. I hope everyone gets vaccinated, that is very important”.

Saurabh Khanna GM Park hotel said he had not received any cancellations but the pace of bookings had certainly slowed down. He said people from across the country were worried in the surge in cases and it was quite possible people were worried.

Alawaz Khan the manager of a Shoolin Homestay in Old Goa said business had not been very good. He said “It has been ok, nothing to write home about. We get our guests mostly from Karnataka and Maharashtra and given the increase in the number of cases, we have witnessed a dramatic decrease in the number of people coming over to our place to Goa in general. The streets are generally empty. One can only hope for the best.”

An employee that authorized to speak to the media said business was down by atleast ten to fifteen percent at the Zuri White Sands Resort and Casino. He said most of the clients to the resort came from Maharashtra and Karnataka and given the state of affairs in those states, it was perfectly understandable for the dip.

However Sanjay Shrivastav GM Kenilworth Beach Resort and Spa said they had not experienced any dip in business. Goa, he said was a state where everyone wanted to come. He however felt with the surge in cases, he expected a dip of around ten to fifteen percent in March and April.

Perhaps not everyone is susceptible. Edwin Dias GM, Casa De Goa Boutique Resort said occupancy was in the 80-90 percent bracket. This was possible due to the fact it was a boutique hotel with 49 rooms with fifty percent of their bookings came from repeat clients. He said “We are sold out till the end of this month. No cancellation as yet and our agents around the country are still booking. In fact our March bookings are looking good too. We are not experiencing any slow down.”

Given the state of affairs in the general economy, one can only hope business continues with people taking care of themselves in places where the cases are taking place. A return to the dark days of a total lockdown will be disaster for everyone from where return will be very difficult.


Iddhar Udhar