PANAJI – Twenty per cent discounts by starred and large hotels, and last year’s rates by small and medium hotels are carrots dangled before foreign tourists by the Goa tourism industry for the coming season.
Gearing up to face the global economic recession, with potential customers abroad either losing their jobs or paying off loans at higher interest rates, the Goa tourism industry is cutting rates to attract international tourists.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph de Sousa said, “There will be 20% discounts offered across the industry in Goa.” Tourism insiders fear that the meltdown in the world’s financial markets would have a cascading effect on the tourism industry. TTAG represents tour operators and hotels, mostly the high-end ones.
“Interest rates have shot up. People abroad are paying more on loans and mortgages. The first casualty is savings. Nobody is comfortable going on a holiday when their savings are depleted,” said de Sousa.
Although Goa draws a repeat clientele of about 40%, tourism players are wary about the loyalty factor working under the current circumstances.
Some 200 small and medium sized hotels across the state which have signed contracts with tour operators have done so with rates for bed and breakfast prevailing as per those of the last season.
“Fuel costs has caused a rise in air fares, and this is our way of taking the burden off tourists,” said Serafino Cotta, convenor of Federation of Small, Medium Hotels and Guest Houses.