Heatwaves Fail to Dampen Summer Tourism in Goa

Hotels and travel agencies that serve the Goa market are noticing an apparent rise in business volumes and room rates compared to the summer of 2022, even in the midst of warm and rainy weather.

The Postcard Hotels & Resorts is asking a premium of 17% across its four locations in Goa compared to last summer. Despite the blazing heat, guests are ready to pay accommodation prices of 25,000 per night, contributing to nearly 80% of its occupancy.

Encouraged by this, the luxury hotel operator is planning to expand its presence in Goa by adding four more hotels, which will more than double its inventory in the state.

Even under humid and rainy circumstances, hotels and travel companies that serve the Goa market are reporting a considerable uptick in business volumes and room rates compared to the summer of 2022.

The hospitality services sector in Goa has experienced a surge in tourist activity throughout the year, making it an all-year-round destination. As a result, most hotels have observed a 10–20% spike in room rates over the past year. But this hasn’t deterred travellers.

The opening of Manohar International Airport emerged as a big contributor to tourism due to its better connection with tier 2 and tier 3 destinations like Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Dehradun, Guwahati, and Coimbatore, claimed online travel operator Booking.com.

According to the latest figures published by the state government, about 5 million domestic visitors have visited the state since September 2022. That aside, 100,000 international tourists visited during the period, compared to 3.3 million domestic and 22,000 foreign tourists in the first three quarters of 2021. Notably, between March and May 2022, Goa had an influx of 1.9 million domestic tourists.

Despite a twofold increase in hotel costs and a 20–30% hike in airfares compared to 2022, Goa remains one of the most popular places. Thomas Cook India has identified a trend among working professionals opting for multiple short getaways, or ‘mini-cations’.

SOTC, a renowned travel provider, also reported a boom in business, up 35% this summer season compared to 2019. Besides, in comparison to 2022, it is seeing a solid 10-15% demand growth.

Sabina Chopra, co-founder of Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd., said while many tourists crowd hill stations during the summer, a substantial number of individuals who may not have enough time choose Goa.

Sabina Chopra’s statement

According to the Yatra platform, hotel bookings to Goa have seen a remarkable increase of 30% compared to the pre-pandemic years of 2019-20. Additionally, airline bookings have grown by 50% during the same period. On a year-on-year basis, air travel to Goa has witnessed a significant rise of 100%."The hills are now packed and people who do not have time but just a weekend, are picking Goa over the hills. Also, the nightlife at Goa that used to shut down during summers and monsoons is now open all the year round," she remarked.

Parveen Chander Kumar’s statement

Taj Hotels, operated by Indian Hotels Co. Ltd., which has nine facilities across categories of stays with over 1,200 rooms in Goa, said 85% of the demand derives from domestic guests. Corporate and social gatherings have quadrupled over the last year. "Hotels are commanding over 15% higher rates compared to last year. There is also a significant improvement in foreign arrivals, primarily due to growth in charter business," said Parveen Chander Kumar, executive vice president, sales and marketing at the company.

In recent times, there has been a notable rise in the number of conferences held in Goa, leading to increased demand for accommodation. Prominent hotels like the Grand Hyatt Goa and Cidade de Goa have reported being sold out during this period. The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has also expanded its offerings in Goa with the opening of an independent restobar called Seven Rivers and three new food outlets.

According to a report by ICICI Securities, citing data from consultancy firm HVS Anarock's India Hospitality Industry Overview 2022, forward hotel rates for June to August 2023 are 8–10% higher compared to the previous year. This indicates a surge in demand for leisure destinations like Goa, suggesting that travellers are increasingly choosing Goa as their preferred destination.