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Goa: A new year hot spot for tourists

Rave parties, dancing on the beach, cheap alcohol and great food — Goa at New Years`s attracts hordes of…

Rave parties, dancing on the beach, cheap alcohol and great food — Goa at New Years`s attracts hordes of tourists, all looking to end the year with the biggest party of the lives and leaving the state`s tourism industry smiling all the way to the bank.

But is this prime tourist destination losing its touch as one of the most favoured destinations for new year`s? While government quashes any such suggestions, private tour operator and restaurant owners feel otherwise, saying overpricing and lack of infrastructure could hamper the state`s brand image in the long run.

Although authorities say the number of tourists who visited Goa in 2003 would touch 20 lakh, local entrepreneurs say the year has been a bad one and the figure is highly exaggerated.

Last year people were seen sleeping on the beach because they could not get accomodation, but this year even hotels are finding the going difficult. We did business of around Rs 12,000 on Christmas last year at our restaurant, but this year, the figure did not even touch 2,000, says Samson D`souza, who owns a shac on the Baga beach.

While the figure of 1.5 lakh tourists in Goa during the new year week may be somewhat accurate, Nilesh Shah, a tour operator says the numbers give the wrong picture.

Most of these tourists drive down from nearby states like Maharashtra and Karnataka, stay for New Year`s eve and then depart. They hardly generate any revenue, he said adding a large number of tourists are put off because rates are exceedingly overpriced during the season. PTI

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