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The warm sun may have gone into a slumber and monsoon winds and rain may be sweeping across Goa’s beaches, but the cash registers in the state’s hotels and resorts continue to ring.
Goa’s traditional reputation as a half-yearly tourism destination is slowly being converted into a 365-day affair, as the hospitality industry across the board readies itself for tourists booking flights to Goa even when the rain churns the seas into a frenzy and the gusty wind plays a swashbuckling tango with the coconut palms.
“Many of our guests say that they travel to Goa twice a year – once in the peak season time and later during the monsoons. In fact, I think the monsoon has been the best season in Goa. When a majority of tourists think of the monsoons, they think of Goa,” Betty Remedios, Director (Sales and Marketing) of the Grand Hyatt, said when asked if it was difficult to attract tourists to Goa during the monsoons.
“Goa has achieved a year-round destination status, with a clear domestic season (April-September) and an international season (October-March). In fact, monsoon tourism is picking up greatly in the state as many more book flights to Goa throughout the year. The hotel achieved 78 per cent occupancy in May peak season time and later in monsoons,” said Vivek Braganza, director of sales and marketing of the Goa Marriott Resort and Spa.
Over the last few decades, Goa has been one of the more sought after winter tourism destinations for international tourists from Europe as they book more flights to Goa. With the winter at its harshest in Europe from October through December, hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to Goa’s moderately warm beaches for their annual spot in the sun.
Until recently, out of the nearly half a million foreign tourists who visited Goa during the October-March season, more than 100,000 were from Britain, UK, in both the charter as well as free independent traveller (FIT) category. Last year, the British tourist contingent was nudged off the top by a strong Russian wave of 133,000 travellers.
While hotel and accommodation prices, as well as other expenses like transportation, rise manifold during the October-March tourism season, the monsoons bring considerable relief to domestic tourists keen to get a ‘Goa high’ on a low budget.
According to tourism director Swapnil Naik, domestic tourist traffic to Goa increased in the monsoons last year by nearly 10 percent.
“Monsoon tourism, or Raindrop Tourism as we call it, has seen positive results year after year. Goa is a favourite monsoon destination with domestic travelers and now increasing with the international segment also. Additionally, we have also tapped markets in west Asia, where rains are sparse,” Naik said.
Currently over 2.6 million tourists visit Goa’s beaches annually.