Hit by a decline in the number of tourists, the Goa tourism ministry is considering regulating food prices in restaurant and beach shacks and also keeping check on online booking sites that artificially escalate hotel and lodging room rates.
"We will be cracking down on those who escalate food prices during the season. If people have to eat expensive food, why they should travel here? The prices of dishes cannot go above Rs 500. There has to be a limit. We will fine them if it goes above limits," Goa tourism minister Manoha Ajgaonkar said on Thursday.
"We are going to call them (representatives of online room booking services). We do not want them here if they do this," Mr Ajgaonkar said, adding the issue of online portals artificially hiking hotel room rates was discussed at a meeting with tourism ministry officials on Wednesday.
"It was discussed yesterday. They show only two rooms (on online portals) and they escalate the prices. They do not show other rooms. Customers also do not have access to the hotel numbers. So they cannot cross-check," Ajgaonkar said.
Travel and tourism industry stakeholders have claimed that tourist numbers to Goa, which had attracted more than seven million tourists last season, had dropped considerably this season.
While the Tourism Ministry has claimed that it has not tabulated the tourist arrival figures for the year 2018 yet, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Savio Messias has said that the dip was as much as 30 per cent, adding that most hotels in the state were under-booked during the festive season, when bookings peak.
Goa's tourism season stretches from October to March every year.