India - Goa Economy Bears the Brunt of India's Coronavirus Lockdown
Goa, a western coastal state and major tourist destination, is welcoming visitors after months under a COVID-19 lockdown. But the comeback has been slow, and often painful.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the tourism-dependent economy of Goa, a western coastal state that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors during the cooler months of the year, especially during the holiday season.
According to a report published by the state's Tourism Ministry in December, Goa's tourism industry may have suffered losses between $273 million (€222 million) and $985 million (€801 million) on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state also recorded job losses in the range of 35%-58%.
A typical "peak" season in Goa — December and January — sees throngs of visitors flocking to their favorite beaches for some time in the sun, as northern parts of the country battle dipping temperatures. Seaside shacks and popular restaurants run at full capacity with reservations being made days in advance.
International visitors, mostly from Russia, Israel, the UK and Italy, come for the holidays and often decide to stay on for months.
This year, however, the difference was striking.
December rolled in without the usual flow of crowds. From the beaches in the north, like Morjim or Ashwem, till Palolem and Patnem in the south, the seaside bore a deserted look. Shacks looked desolate, and local businesses struggled to make ends meet.