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Hotels rake in ‘holi’day moolah

Panaji: Goa’s hoteliers, restaurateurs and tour operators are all set to make a killing in the coming long weekend even as the summer sets in and the inflow of foreign tourists trickles down. With most parts of India taking a break on Thursday and Friday for Holi and Good Friday, lakhs of revellers are all set to make a beeline for Goa’s shores, bringing a sweet ka-ching to cash registers.

Several hotels in the state, especially along the Northern coastal belt, are already running full for the year’s first long weekend, which starts on Thursday and goes on till Sunday. Smart travellers have chosen to apply for three days of leave from March 21 to 23, thereby getting a nine-day holiday.

“We are running on high occupancy for the upcoming weekend. We are almost sold out. We have seen mostly families and young couples coming in for a holiday,” Hyatt Place Goa, general manager, Sanjay Patti said.

The influx of tourists will also keep alive nightclubs such as Titos, Club Cubana and Mambos, which are expected to be packed with domestic tourists. “A long weekend is a big boon for the industry. The only problem is that the infrastructure in not sufficient to handle the tourists. Dug up roads in the Calangute belt is another problem, but I don’t think the tourist will change his mind,” travel and tourism association of Goa (TTAG), vice president, Savio Messias said.

Fuelled by European chartered tourists, Goa’s conventional tourist season starts in October and winds up in March, when the winter chill and the warm sun makes for pleasant weather for travellers from Russia, Britain and Germany.

“There is a very good response for us this weekend. We got bookings a month ago and even at the last moment,” Nilaya Hermitage, general manager, Shyam Haridas said.

Keen to attract tourists, several resorts have organized special events to keep guests entertained, while the beach shacks have lined up fireworks and live performances.
Resorts such as Hyatt Place have decided to host a special lunch on Holi and an Easter special dinner on March 26 along with an unlimited beer and kebab festival.

“Every year we organize a rain dance, fun and frolic so that people can get a feel of the festival. This long weekend overlaps with the end of the Iranian charter market. This long weekend we are already sold out,” Resort Rio, vice president sales and marketing, Kunal Gujral said.

Not all resorts are gung-ho about live performances and gala celebrations. “Both our hotels are sold out, but we are not doing anything due to past problems with EPL licences,” Neelam Grand, operations manager, Narayan Reddy said.

The demand for rooms is despite the hike in tariffs for the long weekend and along with resort rack rates, rent a bike and rent a car operators are also expected to hike fares to boost their earnings.[TOI]

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