Goa tourism fails to cash in on millennium wave

Goa tourism fails to cash in on millennium wave

Goa tourism fails to cash in on millennium wave

By A Staff Repórter

PANAJI, Dec 29: Though heavy tourist inflow was expected to Goa as a favourite millennium spot, figures and experience tell a different story.

The state government’s failure to clear the doubts created by counter-campaigns by other states in major metros have shattered many domestic tour­ists dream of celebrating their new millennium in this tourist paradise.

The Chief Minister, Mr Francisco Sardinha, who has reviewed the tourist arrival situation admitted that the inflow was not up to expectations, and hopes that it might go up on the last day or the first week of the new year.

The occupancy rates in many hotels and lodging houses have not touched cent per cent, despite the media hype that it will be “house full” in Goa. The five star hotels, which had tied up with .chain. hotels, are reporting back-to-back bookings.

Some of the domestic tourists, who claimed that they arrived in Goa by taking a risk of sleeping on the streets were shocked to get easy accommodation.

Dr Ompraksh Chaudhary, a Delhi-based doctor, said in Delhi every travel agencies had advised him not to go to Goa without prior bookings. However, he said he got easy accommodation and he has now decided to extend his stay in Goa.

In spite of the massive campaign carried out by travel agents through the Internet, there was no increase in chartered flights for the new millen­nium. However, the domestic tourists arrival number has gone up.

According to department of tourism statistics, 66 chartered flights had arrived from December 1 to 26, bringing 15,996 foreign tourists. The Airport Authority of India’s (AA1) officer at Dabolim airport said this chartered flights were cleared six months in advance. However, no new flight was cleared, for the millennium, he said.

Two new five star hotels have been opened in Goa for the millennium. Besides  385 bed  capacities, some small hotels also sprouted up in the   
state during the season. In all, there are 52 star-       
category hotels in the state.

The director of tourism, Mr Kesh Kamat, told        A The Navhind Times that the department had ins- pected an additional 25,000 domestic tourists the millennium.

When asked to give his reaction to the
tourist response, Mr Kamat said the tourist arrivals
scenario has not changed. But he said the media—ti
hype, which had created a picture of heavy rush. This
scared many back-packers away.

Mr Kamat said during 1998, a total of 10,25,259
tourists arrived in Goa, while, till November this
year, this number has gone only up to 10,90,911.
He said there was good rise ia flow of tourists in Goa, compared to last year.

The. number of foreign tourists numbers also remained the same compared to last year. During 1998. 2,75,047 foreign tourists arrived in Goa, while till November this year, the figures read    _
2,38,704. Till December 26. another batch of
15,993 foreign tourists arrived through 66 char-
tered flights.

The director-general of pólice (DGP), Mr R S  Sahaye, has said that the travel agents’ main campaign pitch centered on “total    permissiveness for ” various activities.” He said this campaign was a sheer attempt to misguide the tourists, and those who wanted to enjoy the new millennium have arrived. He said the the pólice had kept special squads to control the law and order situation.

Travel and trade circles are attributing various factors for the tepid tourist response. Basically, many feel that the government had failed in its public relations.

Besides, the national print-media also gave a wrong impression that the cost of everything will be go up through the roof during the millennium, they said.