Challenges and Hopes for Goa’s Shack Owners Ahead of Next Tourism Season

Shack owners are optimistic about the upcoming tourism season, anticipating better fortunes compared to the challenges they encountered in the recently concluded one.

Financial difficulties plagued many shack owners last season, prompting some to close operations as early as March due to high overhead costs amidst lower-than-expected visitor numbers.

While a few shacks managed to stay open until mid-June, the profitable months were confined to December through February, coinciding with the peak tourist season around Christmas and into January and February.

Looking forward, shack owners are keen to avoid a repeat of last season’s woes. Cruz Cardozo, President of the Goa Shack Welfare Owners Society (SWOS), highlighted delays in obtaining permissions to start shacks as a major issue. “The biggest issue we faced was regarding the delay in getting all the permissions needed to start our shacks. This was a long delay compared to previous years and lost nearly three months,” he expressed.

He emphasised the significance of timely licensing, noting the substantial investments shack owners make in permissions and infrastructure.

“Therefore, we want the Tourism Department to issue licences by August itself. As it takes time to get all the other permissions from the departments concerned. Then it takes time to put up the shack. This way hopefully by September end, we can begin the next season,” Cardozo added.

On the environmental front, Cardozo advocated for Government intervention in connecting shack sewage systems directly to the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), addressing concerns about environmental impact and sanitation.

Acknowledging the shift in tourist arrivals favouring the Mopa Airport over the one in Dabolim, the SWOS President expressed apprehension about its negative impact on South Goa’s tourism. He highlighted instances of regular visitors cancelling plans due to increased travel distances, underscoring potential long-term consequences if this trend persists.

Regarding the issue of tourist harassment by vendors and others, Cardozo defended the State Government’s initiatives, highlighting the availability of a dedicated hotline for reporting such incidents.

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