Goa tourism industry to offer cheaper off-season packages

Last Updated: Apr 04, 2012, 11:45 AM IST

Panaji: Planning a vacation in Goa during the monsoon season would be cheaper now, as the hotel industry is designing attractive packages following the concessions provided by the state government.

The Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government has offered 50 per cent concession on the luxury tax to mid and upper segment hotels during the off season.

Reacting to the sops, the tourism and trade industry has said that the relaxation in the luxury tax will help them to mitigate the hike in the air fares which had made off season packages expensive.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the state Finance Minister, has proposed in the budget that all hotels are granted 50 per cent concession of tax payable during the off season commencing from May 01, 2012 to September 30, 2012, subject to prompt payment of tax and filing of returns in time.

Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), which has been lobbying for such concession, said the move will help in making monsoon package more attractive, as the skyrocketing air fares had forced the off-season packages to be expensive.

"The hoteliers will be able to pass the benefit of concession directly to the customers," TTAG spokesman Ralph D`Souza said.

Unofficial estimates reveal that around 1,500 medium and big hotels will be benefited from the incentives, while smaller hotels are exempted from paying luxury tax.

Last year`s off-season was blessed with the long weekends, which saved the industry from facing losses, D`Souza said adding that the average occupancy was around 75 per cent during weekends and approximately 60 per cent during the week days.

Last year`s off-season was blessed with the long weekends, which saved the industry from facing losses, D`Souza said, adding that the average occupancy was around 75 per cent during weekends and approximately 60 per cent during the week days.

In its pre-budget memorandum submitted to Parrikar, the TTAG had urged for concessions to the industry.

The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has termed this reduction as a "smart move", which will keep economy vibrant even during the off-season.

"The state will lose on the luxury tax but certainly will gain on the taxes paid by the tourists on other commodities. For example, they will buy certain things in Goa, eat in the restaurant and spend here, which will bring taxes back to the state coffers," GCCI President Manguirish Pai Raikar said.

PTI