The Goa offshore casinos have been in the news with the impending deadline to move the casino vessels to another location and out of the Mondovi River. The 31st March deadline is almost here, and it appears that no alternate location has been found at this time.
The Goa government is clearly concerned about losing revenue from the casinos, and has no plans to shut them down. In fact, it appears that the casinos may stay in their current Mandovi River location for some time yet.
The Goa government has said that it wishes to increase tourism, however, it has taken a number of moves that could affect tourism negatively. Laxmikant Parsekar’s government has put forward a proposal to increase taxes on hotel bookings, travel, and even alcohol. The increased taxes will be effective as of August 2016.
The price of alcohol will be increased on both imported liquor and IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) that are sold in Goa. The import fees levied on bottled win have increased in order to support the local wine industry.
The six percent luxury tax on hotel accommodation will be charged even on the low cost hotels and hostels, and not only on the more expensive forms of accommodation. The six percent tax will be levied on those establishments that charge Rs 1,000 or less for a night’s stay. In the past, the low cost establishments had not paid a luxury tax.
On rooms that charge more than Rs 3,000 per night, a luxury tax of nine percent will be levied, and those that charge more than Rs 5,000 per night will have a luxury tax of 12 perent.
Although the taxes will increase for the tourist season, the government has made moves to encourage visits to Goa during the off season. Between June and September, the luxury taxes will be lowered by 60 percent.
It is likely that tourists will still come to Goa, however, the government will need to create other incentives to make up for the higher costs that will be incurred.