The Russia-Ukraine conflict is leading to a detrimental effect on Goa’s tourism sector with the bookings of chartered flights slowing down from both countries.
Goa is a major tourist attraction for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia with tourists flocking to the coastal state in large number during the current season.
However, the dreaded Russian invasion of Ukraine will directly impact the business of 4,000 small and medium hotels in Goa.
The Charter season that was slowed down due to the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is slated to get affected further. Even though the Charter flights had dropped dramatically due to the third wave, one charter flight was arriving in Goa from Russia every 10 days. In pre-pandemic times, Goa used to receive one flight from Russia every day and 40-50 flights from Ukraine used to land in a season.
Tour operators believe that the current situation in Europe will adversely affect their business as most of the small and medium hotels in Goa are run by these charter tourists.
Ismail Sheikh, Vice president of Concord, a tour company that brings Russian tourists to Goa, said that a charter flight would arrive from Russia tomorrow (March 3) but there were very few tourists.
Nilesh Shah, President of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), said, "the business of big star hotels has not been affected much as a large number of domestic tourists are currently flocking to Goa for weddings and other events. But small and medium hotels have definitely been affected including the shacks traders in the coastal areas of Goa who are dependent on these tourists."
Serafino Cotta, president of Small and Medium Hotels Owners Association, said they are left without much business for the third year in a row.
"We are currently in a dilemma, with some hotels having no tourists at all. With the exception of some parts of North Goa, there was a lull in shacks elsewhere. We expected to do good business, at least this time around. Our three seasons produced no business due to Covid. And this fourth season had also been eaten up by the war," he said.