MARGAO: Monsoon tourism was a “total washout” in Colva this year as hardly any Indian tourists visited the village. The stakeholders cited various reasons for the decline in tourists.
Hotels favoured by budget tourists and high-end tourists had poor occupancy with the staff claiming “last year better”.
Business appeared to be on the downward side this year in Colva as only a few roadside kiosks have been operating and that too with family members handling business.
“Despite no sale, we have to operate, otherwise someone else may grab this space,” said a North Indian selling clothes and innerwear. Similar reason was given by the jewellery shop owners.
Various multi-cuisine restaurants are mostly closed with some of these offer only snacks such as omelette. The worst hit, are those running guesthouses.
Hotels catering to the budget /free spending tourists complained of drop in occupancy due to a decline in the arrival of domestic tourists. A hotel owner catering to the free spending tourists claimed that the occupancy was barely 5 per cent but at the same time claimed that Indian tourists normally are budget tourists, who do not visit his hotel.
Snowkon Gonsalves, owner of Skylark that caters to the free spending tourists opined that Indian tourists are not coming to South Goa probably because of the lack of nightlife here as compared to North Goa which witnessed more tourists.
He blamed the sorry state of affairs and total collapse of garbage management as another reason for tourists staying away from Colva.
“We have lost a large number of German tourists who do not like to see dirty places and most of my customers complain of the garbage menace at Colva particularly the beach,” he said.
Having been a Sarpanch earlier, he strongly advocated making the panchayat responsible for keeping the beach clean instead of the department taking on the responsibility.
“Right now everybody blames the department but if the panchayat was made responsible there would have been no scope to blame anyone but only get the work done,” he said.
Last year, they could attract some Indian tourists by offering packages for groups and this year it was not possible as the starred-hotels offered better packages as they wanted their space to be booked too.
Rohan Karekar, Managing Director of Hotel Colva Kinara which caters to the budget tourists, said his occupancy was only around 30 per cent this monsoon while it was around 45 per cent last year.
He attributed the drop to stopping of the aggressive discounts offered by online booking companies and to the Kerala floods.
“Earlier, Goa Ibibo and MakemyTrip were competing with each other and offered aggressive discounts. However, now as both the companies have merged, the discounts have dropped and hence our occupancy has been affected,” he said.
He opined that the Kerala floods were responsible for the drop in Indian tourist arrivals as many people from Kerala used to visit Goa during the monsoons in the past.
“However, I expect the season to turn around in November when the Russians will arrive and the good times will continue till February,” he said.