All roads lead to Goa for the year-end party. After the two-year recession, the recovery is a huge relief for the holiday industry.
But it has also provided an opportunity for hotels and transport operators to jack up rates to a degree that seems downright unscrupulous. Bus fares from Bangalore to Goa have more than doubled, selling now at between Rs 1200 to Rs 2200 for the one-way trip in a luxury seater. Fares on the Mumbai-Goa route have followed a similar pattern, and dozens of extra buses are being re-routed to cope with the pressing demand.
A regular business traveller to Goa said he paid Rs 800 for a non-luxury bus ticket from Bangalore on Wednesday, almost thrice the amount he is usually charged. The lodge he puts up in has also doubled its tariff this week.
With the 3-day Sunburn music festival scheduled to begin at Candolim beach on Monday, hoteliers have grown all the more ambitious. A three-star hotel in Calangute thatadvertises prominently on the net, is selling rooms on December 31 and January 1 for $ 1000 plus 12 per cent luxury tax.
While other boutique hotels charge from Rs 10,000 to Rs 14,000 a night, a room at the Taj Exotica, Benaulim will cost Rs 37,000 plus tax on the 31st and Rs 15,000 per head for the New Year’s Eve dinner. In its fourth edition, Sunburn, which attracts urban young, is promising a line-up of world class DJs like Ferry Corsten and the Swedish House Mafia’s solo artist Axwell as well as Brian Transeau. But tickets to the Sunburn beach party are nowhere near cheap at Rs 2500 to Rs 4000 per day for entry.