Panaji: After a lull in the arrival of tourists around the New Year, the tourism industry in Goa is expecting a brighter season for the next month's 'Carnival'.
There was a drop in tourist arrivals by 15-17 per cent during the New Year season against the last year, industry sources said.
The drop was attributed to the high flight rates which discouraged the travellers to come to Goa who usually prefer to usher in the New Year on the sandy state beaches.
"There was a drop in the tourist arrivals in October, November and December," Ralf D'Souza, the spokesman of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) said.
The season was bad in October because Diwali was in November last year. Arrivals dropped in November because of the delayed start of chartered flights landing in Goa. December saw less tourists due to high flight rates, he said.
"The FIT (Free Independent Travellers) arriving in Goa and staying in two, three or four star hotels preferred to go to other destinations. The business was good for five-star hotels," he said.
State tourism director Nikhil Desai said the exact figures can be available only after occupancy data is collected from various hotels.
Some of the hotels were holding on to their peak season rates till the end, which made the things expensive, forcing the people to opt for other destinations, he said.
"Things did not move as per expectation. The hoteliers were looking at sellers market but it was otherwise," he said.
However, they are now expecting a better influx of tourists around the Carnival time. "We have got a feedback that all the airlines are booked during Carnival time. So we expect that the arrivals will shoot up," Desai said.
The carnival would be celebrated in Goa from February 9 onwards during which float parades are organised across main five cities. Mythological figure King Momo spearheads all the float parades.
Desai also said the tourist arrivals shot up during the first two weeks of January, which is unusual. "This clearly indicates that the people were waiting for the hotel tariffs to subside," he added.
Industry sources said the facility of visa-on-arrival in Goa for countries like Finland and Sweden will also help.


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