For young tourists looking to wine and dine and dance their worries away, a trip to Goa in the throes of election fever is proving to be the worst holiday ever. The week-long early curfew imposed by the Election Commission, coupled with two dry days on Friday and Saturday has left tourists feeling “cheated”.
A trip to the tourism hotspots in coastal North Goa would tell you why-the streets of Candolim and Calangute wear an uncharacteristically gloomy look-most popular beach shacks are shutters down and a few straggling groups of tourists are seen walking around, looking bored. The usually bustling Tito’s lane comes as an even bigger shock-on a Friday evening, one of the busiest of the week, the cobble-stoned walkers’ lane is quiet and darkened. A formidable team of paramilitary personnel armed with big guns, keeps a hawks eye on the few youngsters who loiter outside the closed discotheques, grumpily patronizing the ice-cream pushcarts.
“It feels like we are in Kashmir, with so many soldiers with rifles at every street corner. We did not come all the way to Goa to eat ice cream and drink coffee,” complains Mehak Chawla, a college student from Delhi. Her group of six friends had made bookings to visit Goa a month in advance. “As we had holidays scheduled due to the elections in Delhi, we made bookings through a Goan travel agency. Nobody informed us that Goa’s nightlife would be killed a week ahead of their polling day-not the travel agent or even the four-star hotel that we had made bookings at,” she says.
Another group of young men from Bangalore seen buying knock-off sunglasses at one of the few shops open in Calangute said that it was the Goa tourism department’s duty to inform visitors well in advance about restrictions on nightlife and alcohol sales. “We have spent all this money to get here and have a good time, and there’s nothing to do. Our only option is to sit and drink in the hotel room,” says Karthik Sunder, who apparently had the “good sense” to stock up on alcohol on Wednesday itself. He was not too pleased when a staffer at a GTDC-run hotel suggested that the wolfpack visit the Bondla Zoo and the Basilica Bom Jesus.
Read the full report here, Times of India