Varkala or Goa? The question tourists are pondering

Tourism in the State is facing competition, and tourism portals are making comparisons with other beaches, that are not at all complimentary to Goa
SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Check out which are the top destinations for domestic tourists in India.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Check out which are the top destinations for domestic tourists in India.Photo: Gomantak Times

Guess which destination in India witnessed the largest surge in domestic tourism hotel bookings from January to June 2024?

If the first answer to spring to your mind was Goa, you would be wrong, but then, it would also not be your fault to think this as there has been a surfeit of tourists in the State, that has made up for the drop in foreign tourists. But, Goa was at number 3, behind Coorg and Varkala.

What is interesting is that Goa’s increase in hotel bookings has been pegged at 366 per cent, behind Varkala’s 400 per cent.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Check out which are the top destinations for domestic tourists in India.
7 Fun reasons why you should visit Goa during the monsoons

Coorg is far ahead with a surge of 1910 per cent. The factors for this, given by tourismbreakingnews.com that ran this story, include the scenic beauty, cultural appeal and enhanced transportation options.

Goa is still third, and that’s some consolation for the stakeholders in the State, but then, look at it from a different perspective. Goa is a State, Coorg is a mountainous district in Karnataka, and Varkala is a municipality, a beach in Kerala.

Coorg is far ahead with a surge of 1910 per cent. The factors for this, given by tourismbreakingnews.com that ran this story, include the scenic beauty, cultural appeal and enhanced transportation options.

How do we compare the three destinations? Let us keep Coorg out from the comparison, but can we juxtapose an entire coastline of approximately 105 km against just one beach to arrive at a conclusion?

Even more interesting is what was there to be discovered when I went online to learn more about Varkala, a beach that I had not much knowledge of.

Here is a sampling of some headlines of news and features that caught the eye and raised the eyebrows: ‘Is Varkala the next Goa in Kerala?’, ‘Varkala, mini Goa feel’, ‘Ditch Goa, visit Varkala for a romantic beach holiday’, ‘Why you should chuck Goa for Varkala this time’.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Check out which are the top destinations for domestic tourists in India.
Six reasons why Goa is paradise-esque

These headlines were not just comparing Goa with Varkala, listing out why the beach in Kerala is also called a ‘Mini Goa’ but there were some that were actively promoting Varkala over Goa, telling tourists why they should travel to the beach on the Kerala coast instead of the many beaches of Goa.

Here, in short, is what just a couple of sites say about Varkala in relation to Goa: ‘Varkala is the perfect alternative to a vacation in Goa. It has all the fun, frolic and youthfulness of the popular Indian state, the God’s own country – Kerala with its historical legacy and cultural splendour.’

These headlines were not just comparing Goa with Varkala, listing out why the beach in Kerala is also called a ‘Mini Goa’ but there were some that were actively promoting Varkala over Goa, telling tourists why they should travel to the beach on the Kerala coast instead of the many beaches of Goa.

Another one says, ‘Varkala Beach is one of the cleanest and well-maintained beaches in India. The main feature which makes this beach special is the cliff and the long stretch of clean water. The north end of the beach is mostly crowded with foreign tourists.’

Strangely, I didn’t come across any site listing the attractiveness of Goa over Varkala. There could be some that do this, but my surfing of the net did not lead me to any.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Check out which are the top destinations for domestic tourists in India.
How Maldives pipped Goa in the luxury tourism race

Perhaps the tourism stakeholders in Goa would do well to list some that would push some positives of Goa and bring the tourists to Goa. It would definitely be in their interest to do so.

Tourism in Goa has had competition from Kerala and continues to have. We have known that all along, but now, it comes not just from the State but also from this single beach that is being compared to the whole of Goa.

Competitiveness is always good. It drives one to do better, so is Goa doing better?

Tourism in Goa has had competition from Kerala and continues to have. We have known that all along, but now, it comes not just from the State but also from this single beach that is being compared to the whole of Goa.

Going by tourismbreakingnews.com data on the rise in bookings for the first half of this year, it would appear that Goa has marginally lost out to Varkala.

Numbers will definitely be in favour of Goa, but the rise in percentage is not and that could be a matter of concern.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Check out which are the top destinations for domestic tourists in India.
Domestic tourists keep home fires burning in Morjim, Ashwem

It does appear that Goa needs to pull up its socks and face the challenge from the southern beach destination. It will have to, or it could risk losing out on domestic and foreign tourists, who may just discover other beaches to rival those of Goa. It always starts with one, and then, increases.

In the current scenario, when Goa is struggling to keep the tourism industry in the green and a drop in charter tourism, it has to do whatever it takes to stave off the competition that arises.

Varkala is just an example, there may be many others just north of Goa that are also in the race and will soon compete with Goa.

Your Gateway to Goa, India

The Gomantak Times app is the best way to stay informed on anything happening in Goa. From breaking news to the top 10 restaurants to visit, GT helps you navigate your time in Goa.

Download the Gomantak Times app on your Android or IOS device.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Goa News in English on Gomantak Times
www.gomantaktimes.com