Delayed flights, less crowd and empty streets are all proving to be dampener to the party spirit of Goa this season. Despite being rated as one of the top ten destinations for Christmas and New Year celebrations, Goa seems to be missing its old charm. Speaking from my own experience, in the previous years, maddening traffic on the streets, on the beaches (Calangute, Candolim, Anjuna and Baga) and restaurants in Goa sometime seemed incorrigible, yet it was all taken in the spirit of celebration. But things are different this year.
Barring a few regular Indian tourists vis-à-vis many foreigners, most of the shacks are empty, shops aren’t selling much and even a popular place like Thalassa is seeing less visitors. With a beautiful location and a rare view, the Greek Taverna-Thalassa has in recent times become a favourite for the locals as well as tourists. However, despite two-mega music festivals-Sunburn and Supersonic happening in the city, Thalassa’s owner, Mariketty Grana doesn’t seem too hopeful. She says, “Things are different this year. This is the season when Goa gets maximum business, our economy runs on tourists and somehow we still do not have many this year.”
Even Goa’s favourite, the Russian tourists have decided to give it a miss this year. The city every year attracts a large number of Russian and British tourists. However, Ruble’s depreciation against INR by 58% since January 2014 seems to have caused a significant drop in the number of Russian travelers to the city so as stopping of tourists charter flights from international destinations to arrive in the city.
At the regular tourist hangouts, Zanzi Bar at Baga beach, Monico’s at Candolim beach, Infantaria and Britto’s, the service seems to have taken a toll too. Britto’s is surely avoidable. And, with all the shacks at Baga taking part in ‘who can play the loudest music’ contest; even Baga could be shunned. While many new bars and restaurants have come up in the city, the crowd seems to have gone missing. Well, at least from the city.
And to add to the woes, the terrible fog situation in New Delhi has caused 137 delayed and 14 cancelled flights disrupting travels to many major cities in the country, including Goa. The situation this year is so bad that there are rooms available everywhere in Goa in this peak season and tourism is bound to take a hit.
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