The Goa tourism ministry is considering to regulate food prices in the restaurant and beach shacks and also keeping a check on online booking sites after experiencing a decreased tourist activity. As a state that relies its economic growth strongly on tourism among others such industrial sectors such as mining, and pharmaceuticals, Goa is upping their tourism approach after being hit by a decline in the number of tourists. The Goa tourism minister Manoha Ajgaonkar on Thursday stated, "We will be cracking down on those who escalate food prices during the season. If people have to eat expensive food, why they should travel here? The prices of dishes cannot go above Rs. 500. There has to be a limit. We will fine them if it goes above limits,".
"We are going to call them (representatives of online room booking services). We do not want them here if they do this," Mr Ajgaonkar said, adding the issue of online portals artificially hiking hotel room rates was discussed at a meeting with tourism ministry officials on Wednesday.
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"It was discussed yesterday. They show only two rooms (on online portals) and they escalate the prices. They do not show other rooms. Customers also do not have access to the hotel numbers. So, they cannot cross-check," Ajgaonkar said.
The change is the Goa state’s tourism approach came into view after the travel and tourism industry stakeholders claimed that tourist numbers to Goa, which had attracted more than seven million tourists last season, had dropped considerably this season.
Although the Tourism Ministry claimed that it has not charted the tourist arrival figures for the year 2018 yet, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Savio Messias said that the dip in tourism dwindled to as much as 30 per cent. Goa's tourism season which stretches from October to March every year experienced alarmingly under-booked hotels and resorts even during the festive season when bookings normally overflow.