In recent years, Goa has witnessed a falling rate in the tourist footfalls and this has brought worries among the Tourism Stakeholders. In order to discuss these issues, a high-level meeting chaired by Tourism Minister Manohar (Babu) Azgaonkar and was called upon by the tourism stakeholders and experts, who discussed the decrease in tourist arrivals this season.
The constant decline in the arrivals of the foreign tourists had led the tourism industry to face a huge setback in Goa and as a matter of serious concern, the stakeholders of the tourism industry of Goa decided to come up with the solution for this problem. One of the major problems seems to be the rates of visa on arrival which foreigners found drastically exorbitant.
Many issues had been pertaining to the reason why tourists are no more interested to visit the coastal state to spend their vacation. According to Goa Prism, The coastal state has observed a sharp decline in Tourists this New Year. The over-priced hotels, airfares and even the transport were the main reason why they received fewer bookings for Goa, this year.
With the tourist peak season approaching during the times of New Year’s, hotels and cabs tend to increase their prices, this has caused to major fall in tourist footfalls. Another reason lies in the fact that the pubs and shacks get overcrowded.
Observing this, the tourism department has taken up the responsibility to bring down the prices to reasonable amounts and also take necessary steps to improve tourism in Goa and restore its glory.
The meeting was thus held to figure out the major reasons for the lag of tourism and come up with measures to restore it. The discussion was narrowed into reasoning that the drop in the tourist’s rates is due to the high-prices visa fees.
According to Herald Goa, the stakeholders opined saying that the reason is the high visa prices; the solution is a refund, even partial, of the visa prices to tourists who stay at registered hotels. “Some people said visa rates were high and had to be brought down. We will appeal to the Centre to try to give tourist some subsidy and try to get more tourists,” Azgaonkar told the media after the meeting.
Zeroing the issue to the high prices of visa fees, “We discussed problems of the stakeholders but I do not think there is anything much, the only major issue was visa fees,” he said.
In another article published by Herald Goa, The high-level meeting appears to have missed discussing some crucial points that need to be tackled to give tourism in Goa a new lease of life. Perhaps talking to tourists may have given the stakeholders a better idea of what the tourists want.
There were many other reasons linked to the downfall of tourism in Goa. The rising crime rates, drug and sexual abuses have damaged the reputation of Goa as a safe place to visit. The cases of hooliganism have also played its part in giving second-thoughts to the tourists about visiting the destination.
Not only this, the tourism of Goa has received a major backlash due to the over-pricing of facilities, transport and accommodation. Taxi fares have been a raging issue not only for the tourists but also for the locals. Responding to this, He said, “Taxi is a subject of the Transport Minister and I do not want to say anything. But till the meters are installed there won’t be any solution to overcharging,”
But many argue that reducing the visa fees will attract more of budget travellers and not necessarily quality tourists to the State, an issue that was a rising concern. The Minister was urged to look into issues concerning harassment to tourists, nuisance caused by organized begging at tourist locations, pathetic condition of accesses to tourist locations, parking problems for long haul flights at Dabolim, incentives to the hospitality industry etc.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), led by its president Savio Messias, assured that the minister is given to look into the matters and come up with a solution to improve tourism.