The forthcoming assembly polls in Goa have put the state’s tourism season in peril.
A top tourism body in Goa has voiced irritation at the decision taken by poll officials to ban sale of liquor and shut down restaurants by 11 pm beginning Wednesday.
Gaurish Dhond, president of the Travel and Tourism Authority of Goa (TTAG) said the ban would affect tourism in Goa, especially in the coastal belt known for its night hotspots like Calangute, Baga, Anjuna and Arambol, among others, in a bad way.
“What is the meaning of such bans in these times? Tourists come to Goa to have fun. At least the foreign charter tourists should be allowed to consume alcohol in their hotels,” Dhond said.
“Hotels entertaining charter tourists are bound by contract as far as refreshments and staying conditions are concerned. They are here on a holiday. They come to the hotels sometimes late in the night after their day outs, what are we to serve them,” said Dhond, whose TTAG largely represents a significant chunk of tourism industry stakeholders, including hoteliers, travel agents and restaurateurs.
Earlier in the day, north Goa district magistrate and district returning officer Mihir Vardhan said that hotels, restaurants and bars were barred from Wednesday to stay open beyond 11 p.m. up to Feb 5. The polls are due March 3.
“From Feb 6 to March 6, bars, hotels and restaurants have to be closed after 10 p.m. This decision has been taken to keep law and order situation in check. Anyone found keeping their premises open will have their licence suspended and a heavy fine will be imposed,” Vardhan said.
Goa, one of the most popular beach tourism destination in India and also famous for its nightlife, receives 2.6 million tourists annually out of which half a million are foreigners.