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Goa, India’s party hotspot, counts loss for change

GOA, India (AP) – The golden glow of the sunset on Goa’s smooth sands every evening is as magical as ever. But quiet and lonely This holiday season, few tourists enjoy the famous sunsets at Indian party venues.

The unspoken fears of the coronavirus are destroying Goa’s vibrant beach shacks and the noisy bars of their veins.

Portuguese colonialism until 1967. Since 1961, this western state of India is always alive in December and January, an economy that brings tourism from foreign tourists and charter flights that bring tourists on vacation.

Over the past decade, Goa has shifted from a seasonal mecca for both backpackers, hippies and wealthy travelers to second home destinations for India̵

7;s middle class. Construction is booming, raising concerns about the impact on the vulnerable environment. Apartments with sea views, riverside or surrounded by forests are in great demand.

The epidemic and the subsequent travel restrictions changed everything forever.

Along the popular beaches in North Goa, from Candolim to Calangute to Morjim, many famous coffee shops, tattoo parlors and sunbeds bar sheds have been closed permanently. The nightlife in the popular party hub is dead.

Seema Rajgarh, 37, is lonesome on a nearly deserted Utorda beach in South Goa.Her blue sari stands in the middle of the Arabian Sea as she hawk beaded and stone jewelry. Not many local tourists were interested in buying them.

On a fine day during the holiday season, the mother of three girls, the youngest of which were less than two, said she had made 2,000 rupees ($ 27).

Now the time is cool

“Some days I make almost 200 rupees ($ 2.7), not even enough to buy milk and food for my baby,” she said.

Rajgarh’s husband, cook, lost his job during a nationwide blockade that was set in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. He is still unemployed

The child’s tuition fees are long overdue. Rent is three months late.

“This virus is ruining our lives,” Rajgarh said.

In 2019, more than 8 million tourists visited Goa, including more than 930,000 foreign tourists.About 800 charter flights came from Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and other international Japan, according to the tourism department. State

As of August, there were just 1.1 million visitors, including 280,000 foreign tourists.

The official report on the impact of COVID-19 in Goa, released in December, expects the travel industry to lose nearly $ 1 billion due to the April-May shutdown. It is estimated to range from 35% to 58%. More than a third of Goa’s 1.6 million people work in tourism.

Goa accounts for more than 51,000 people from India, with more than 10 million reported coronavirus cases, with 749 deaths in the deaths.The aftermath of a sudden disruption in economic activity has lured many business owners to call it quits. Business

Suman Bhat, the designer with the luxury label “Lola by SumanB ″, sat at home last summer, popular with Bollywood celebrities, trying to close her flagship store in Panjim, the capital. Goa’s or waiting for sales to fall

Bhat is able to keep her workers. But having to relinquish her beloved retail space, relocated to a low-cost location in August.

“It was a difficult leave for me. You put a lot of money into your business to create a customer experience, and that is totally taken from you. There is no longer a way for anyone to see, touch and feel your product, ”she said.

Bhat said her workers were tired from the new sterilizing routine, testing and concerns. As the outbreak is not yet foreseen, the future is uncertain.

“Can my clothes be wearable to work in the evening? Is it fair to ask people to pay like that when everyone is trying to save? ”She asks herself.

“Everyone is exhausted. You don’t know when the worker will tell you when he has a fever. What do you do? Close everything? Tell everyone to get tested, disinfect and spray everything? You’re in a problem-solving mode all the time, ”she said.

Months after the launch had unfolded, Goa was showing signs of life. Domestic tourists increase during the year-end holidays. Unlike in most other Indian states, the casino is reopened and visitors are no longer required to show a negative corona virus test report.

But things hardly come back to normal.

Yoga teacher Sharanya Narayanan was struggling to make sense of what was lost.

Narayanan, 34, came from Goa from Mumbai in 2008 to perform aerial acrobatics at a club and stayed to make it her home.

She teaches in many places. But had to switch to a virtual lesson during his exit from prison. When the wellness center was allowed to reopen in August, the only event returned was her own private class.

“The epidemic has changed the lives of everyone, including me,” she said.

“I miss the feeling of anonymity that I liked in Goa. Every time I don’t have the same people to meet, it keeps changing, evolving, so I can rebuild myself without feeling tired, ”she says.“ It’s a temporary nature of things that are interesting about it. D “

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