PANJIM: They arrive in Goa like white chicken and leave golden-brown. They pass a lovely week eating, drinking and sunbathing, and all for less than five pounds a day. Goa may be one of the most expensive spots in India, but for the foreign tourist it is still luxury on the cheap.
“I had a German tourist recently who arrived with just around Rs 18,000 for a ten-day stay,” says Savio Fernandes from Anjuna. The woman rented a two-wheeler for Rs 200 and booked a room for Rs 300 a day.
With Rs 5,000 spent on transport and accommodation, she still had Rs 13,000 left to spend on food, travel and entertainment.
According to locals in coastal Goa, the day in the life of a foreign tourist begins only at noon.
They rise by 11 o’clock and have a heavy English breakfast — eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans followed by beer all the way all day.
By evening, the Brits find a bar and its beer and snacks till early morning. The Russians and Israelis prefer music and dance, and so it’s off to a party venue for them.
Of the two million people who visited Goa last year, around 2,00,000 were British. More than 1,000 Britons live here for the full six-month season, seeking an alternative lifestyle.
And although Goa attracts all kinds of tourists: high-end, charter and the backpacker, entire families from the UK also relocate here.
A few of these families are from the low-income bracket but can still enjoy a luxurious by-the-beach lifestyle.
A British tourist residing at Baga said that a year’s rent in Goa is a month’s rent back in London. Many of these tourists also partner with locals and run businesses that fund their stay.
Locals like Neil D’Souza from Calangute rent out accommodation to high-end tourists and backpackers.
As far as charter tourists are concerned, they hardly have to spend a dime here besides their paid tour, he says.
The state’s tourism department officials however say that there are plans afoot to subtly focus on high-end tourists.