Ongoing tourist taxi strike worries Goa's tourism industry

Published: 21 January, 2018 15:00 IST | PTI | Panaji

With the strike by taxi operators in Goa entering the third day on Sunday, the tourism industry is worried about facing a backlash from travellers

With the strike by taxi operators in Goa entering the third day on Sunday, the tourism industry is worried about facing a backlash from travellers. The tourist taxi operators in Goa are on a strike since Friday to protest the state government's rule making it mandatory for their vehicles to have speed governors.

Representational picture
Representational picture

The BJP-led government has refused to exempt the tourist taxi operators from installing speed governors citing a Supreme Court order. Taxis without the speed-limiting gadgets will not be issued fitness certificates by the Transport Department from February 24, it has said. Several tourists who arrived in the state were stranded at the airport for hours together as their holiday package included pick-up and drop facility.

In the absence of tourist taxis, hotels have failed to arrange for any transport for their guests, who have to manage on their own to reach their destinations. A few tourists complained of over-charging by autorickshaws and other transport services which are doing a brisk business due to the strike. "The strike will affect the industry in the long run as a lot of people are going back from Goa with bad memories of being fleeced or over-charged during their vacation here," Savio Messiah, President, the Travel and Tours Association of Goa, told PTI today.

"People plan their holidays with hard-earned money and now they are going back totally disappointed due to the inconvenience caused by the strike," Messiah said. If the strike continues, the industry will face a "lot of cancellations", he said. "Some of the travellers have booked their holiday inclusive of pick-up and drop facility at the airport. But now they are complaining hotels are not picking up the phone as
they don't have vehicles to transport them," Messiah said.

The impact of the strike has already started showing on the tourism industry, a major revenue earner for the government. The internationally-famed Saturday Night Market at Arpora, North Goa, which witnesses a rush of tourists, wore a deserted look yesterday. "The restaurant business is also getting affected as people can't move around. They prefer to stay indoors in hotels or spend day on the beach," said Caetan Fernandes, a hotelier from Calangute. Shack owners, too, are apprehensive about their business taking a hit.

"In absence of taxi services, tourists spend more time on the beach which will help our business but that will not work in the long-term," said Cruz Cardoso, President of the Shack Owners Welfare Society. Goa is currently witnessing peak tourist season which will continue till the monsoons.

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