Goa, a land which remained overflown by the scads of tourists is now experiencing quite a low which could also contribute to the sudden break of economy worldwide. British tourists had notched out records amongst highly travelled foreigners to Goa from all over the world.
A desire of hopes and ambitions are piled up for the all new season in Goa commencing from October this year where Roy Barreto will reopen his restaurant he had boarded up during the monsoon. His restaurant Betty’s place famous for seafood is reclining towards rising hopes for the flights charting in with the new season of October bringing in more tourists at his place. While his optimism is speaking volumes on the grounds that his favorite holiday makers the Britishers will return back to their favorite destination.
The big hit of recession in Europe directly attacked the pockets of people and they are now scared to splurge any penny on their traveling to secure some amount. “The British are adventurous. They go out every day, and want to try different activities. They were the main takers for our day-long dolphin, birdwatching and backwater cruises,” says Mr Barreto.
The Russian and Britons both are amongst the highly visited travelers who land up to this place for their vacation. According to the Economic Survey of Goa- by 2014 though, Russian tour operators had managed to sell Goa holidays to 189,000 Russians, outnumbering the 129,000 British arrivals – both still the largest chunk of Goa’s 513,000 foreign visitors.
Low oil prices, sanctions and the falling rouble have impacted several economies and Russia is also busted with this economy attack. The drop in charter flights from 1, 128 in 2013-14 to 895 in 2014-15 says the story.
The issue is not only the economic low but rising crimes against foreigners are also accounting for less tourists in Goa. When a legislator from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, Michael Lobo, said Britons were avoiding Goa due to rising incidents of bag snatching, the murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling and Goa’s inability to solve its garbage management problems.
Moreover, after the Mumbai attacks in 2008, the visa tightening processing has also made tourists abandoning their prime destination to visit Goa where almost some nullified their travel. Single-entry visas replaced multiple-entry ones and long visa queues became the norm. Those exiting the country could only return after two months – now reduced to two weeks – and tourist visa holders still have to leave the country after 180 days.
Goa Tourism Trade Body (TTAG) tried handing to Government in Delhi for extending the e-visa and visa on arrival facilities to visitors landing up from UK, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. The body tried petitioning the authorities to reduce the visa fess as well for British visitors to £40 ($62) for a one-month tourist visa from £105 ($163).
Former construction professional Robert Drury, 62, who, since 2007, has been spending most of his year in Goa’s Arpora, says the two-month rule has been particularly expensive.
“Now we just go back to the UK or maybe Thailand for two weeks after our 180 days are up. I don’t think there’s any place else I’d rather be. The cost of living is cheap, the sunny weather is perfect for my health, and there’s a terrific selection of restaurants my wife and I can frequent.”
The words of loyal tourist speaks the truth where government need to impose measures to bring the tourism back to Goa.