Panaji: With borders sealed and seashores getting completely deserted to stop curb of COVID-19, Goa’s signature palm roof thatched beach shacks have begun dismantling their structures two months in advance.
The tourism industry stakeholders claim that the the current season has been a complete wash out and next season is going to face a worst fate due to COVID-19 effect.
“Almost all the shacks have been brought down. This was supposed to be a peak season. We had terrible tourism season this year, it started with slump in arrivals and ended with coronavirus,” Manuel Cardozo, President, All Goa Traditional Shack Owners’ Association said.
Cardozo owns a shack on Baga-Calangute beach belt which is a hotspot for tourism activities, but has now empty beaches due to the lockdown.
“The shacks were supposed to be removed by May 31. But people got them dismantled by March,” he said.
Shacks are usually temporary structures on the beaches which are removed during monsoon season, only to be set up again for next tourist season.
“We don’t expect next season to bring any cheers. Coronavirus is going to hit the economy. People will not prefer to travel,” he said.
Cardozo said that both on domestic and international front, the tourism looks bleak for next season.
Cruz Cardozo, President of All Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society, said that the situation is similar in South Goa, where shack owners have retired for this season.
“Holidaying or travel is always secondary. People look after securing their livelihood first. In these circumstances, livelihood of everyone is in danger,” he said.
Cardozo recalled how some international couples used to save during the entire year, so that they can plan their Goa vacation.
State’s tourism body, Travel and Tours Association of Goa (TTAG), however, feels that Goa will have a brighter future post-COVID.
“People are shut in their homes. Once all this is over, they will have to move out and de-stress. There is no better place than Goa. They can enjoy on the beach, party,” TTAG President Savio Messias said.
He said that amongst the international travel destination, Goa is going to be the first one to open, as rest of them are affected with coronavirus