Going by the economic climate in Europe and witnessing huge protests in Spain, Greece and Italy over mass unemployment, it’s strange to consider Goa as a state still living with its 8-month long off-season.
The off-season, typically from March/April until October marks the period where the state shuts down. The beach shacks are closed, the monsoon kicks in (and how!) and very little tourism-related activity occurs.
Most foreigners (read Brits and Russians) go back home to taste whatever summer sun they can in their respective lands, leaving the local population to swim, float or drown in the rain.
It does seem at odds with the state, which thrives so much on tourism that there hasn’t been a change in approach towards the off-season. Further, given that the “on-season” is so diametrically opposite both in terms of attitude and posture, one would imagine there be a greater a feeling towards capitalising on the monsoon season for more of Goa’s tourism attractions.
It appears that the 8-month lull culminates in a tourism binge so dramatic that the state requires the time off to recover from the physical beating it takes. Back-packers are omnipresent, ravers from other parts of India and abroad descend on Anjuna and Vagator’s beaches and the streets are swarmed with new faces, many of which are already off their rocker.
The tut-tut approach of this debauchery by more than one local spoken to doesn’t seem to take into account simple economics: the state needs the four-month long party to sustain itself all year round.
That’s another reason for the government, private groups / individuals or both to offer more during the rainy season. Waterfalls, treks and diving are some activities, which can easily be marketed in the summer months with minimal hassle. But so far there has been little to no input or interest in doing so. It seems to be that only the die-hard regulars or avid followers of these activities even know that they exist in Goa. Normally, the summer seems to mean that it’s off to the hills i.e. Manali where the local Israeli population run cafes and come December it’s back to Goa for the start of the dance-drug and “fun” season.
If the average Goan believes this shouldn’t be the way to go there needs to be a tourism plan for 12-months – not just four; otherwise the binging could lead to bigger hangovers come another April.