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Demonetsation hits Goa tourism

PANAJI: If the lean tourist season was not enough, demonetization has come as a major setback to local tourism stakeholders, particularly the beach shack operators whose earnings have taken a sharp dip.

Shortage of handheld point of sale (POS) machines as a result of surging demand by traders of different sectors, has also added to their woes with banks complaining of its non-availability, reports Goa.com.

“Our business has come down by over 60 percent compared to last tourist season. It has almost come to a standstill,” President of Shack Owners Welfare Society Cruz Cardozo said conceding that demonetization is to be blamed for the crisis.

With only around 10-20 percent shack operators using POS devices, the remaining ones are awaiting response from the banks concerned for its availability.

“Many out of those who are currently using the swiping machines have complaint of poor connectivity with servers. Many a times, the device hangs,” he said sharing his own experience where he had to let off at least four holidaying families without making the payment.

“Many don’t carry cash and if the device is creating problem, we cannot blame the visitors,” he added.

While there are still a number of them quite comfortable sans digital transaction arguing that online form of payment is the most non reliable method.“Most of us are not literate to carry out digital transaction. POS transaction is convenient but other online payments are complicated and unreliable,” Patricia Nunes, running a shack along the Calangute-Candolim belt, opined.

Nunes, like many others has applied to respective banks for issuance of POS machines but their wait continues. “The banks’ response is that they are unable to immediately provide us with the machine, and our problem is that visitors complain of cash crunch owing to withdrawal limit. For how long should we adjust,” questioned Inacio, who had his shack featuring in two Tollywood movies.

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