Many among the water sports operators in the state are ruing the decision of some of their “leaders” to hike the rates or fees for water sports by over 200 per cent as a result of which they have been unable to attract tourists and if some of them are to be believed, their business is down by half since the beginning of the current tourist season.
A few water sports operators told The Navhind Times on Friday that half of their water sports equipment was lying idle as there were no takers for them in view of the high rates of the water sports activities. They also said that their income has dwindled ever since the new rates came into effect.
The water sports operators also informed that they used to offer a joy ride for Rs 150 till the last season but would agree to take the tourists for a ride for Rs 100, which has since been increased to Rs 300. Similarly, for other water sports activities the rates were half of whatever was being charged now. They also rued the queue system that has been started.
According to the water sports operators, their leaders perhaps decided to hike the rates following the government’s announcement to regulate water sports and charge tourists reasonable amount. The government had proposed to regulate the water sports through the Goa Tourism Development Corporation and sell tickets through its agency.
“They (leaders) thought that if the rates that were charged earlier were retained, then the government might reduce them considerably making their activities unviable,” the water sports operators said adding that the delay in implementing the government proposal has had a reverse effect on the water sports activities.
A testimony of no takers for water sports was seen at Baga as well as Calangute and at least half of the boats were seen lying idle on the beach. Besides, despite the announcement that touts would not be allowed to “hijack” clients, quite a number of them were seen “soliciting” clients but could manage to “win over” only a few.
A water sports operator at Baga said that lack of clients was a result of the greed of some of them and hoped that the government would step in at the earliest and rationalise the rates for water sports and help them make up for the losses they have suffered. He said that according to their information the present arrangement was likely to continue till the next year.
Meanwhile, a senior government official said that it was time for the government to step in and regulate the water sports activities and stop fleecing of the tourists, most of whom were domestic. “We can’t allow the tourists to be fleeced in the manner as was being done now,” he said.
He further said that the government was gearing itself for implementing the Bombay High Court directives as regards to water sports, and modalities were being worked out to regulate water sports and rates which were being charged by the water sports operators association. The GTDC is expected to deploy its own personnel to manage ticketing counters and sell tickets. [NT]