‘Bali cheaper than Goa’: Fund manager says Indian tourism losing out to Southeast Asian countries amid ‘inflated hotel rentals’

Vietnam, a coastal country in Southeast Asia, has emerged as one of the top tourist destinations in recent times, with many more Indian tourists choosing this nation over Goa – which is known for its pristine beaches and nightlife. A fund manager, Viraj Mehta, on Tuesday explained this new trend of travellers heading to the South East Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia instead of visiting Goa.

Mehta said India was losing out tourists to Southeast Asian countries due to high real estate prices that have pushed the hotel prices. He said that Vietnam has become the new Thailand. “Mass affordable tours with direct flights and good value for money,” he said. “We losing out to Southeast Asian countries due to high real estate prices leading to such inflated hotel rentals. Cheaper to go to Bali/Hanoi than Goa..Strange..Solution?”

“Basically you get direct flight connections to top 8-10 cities and cheap hotels with a clean environments and then see the power of Indian consumer,” Mehta said.

The fund manager’s post sparked a debate with many offering their two cents. Harsh Shah, a chartered accountant and investor, said that more than the property prices, it was the culture honestly. “Clean and less polluting environment,” Shah said. “And sensitize people’s attitude towards tourists. Can a woman traveler roam around in skimpy clothes without getting creepily ogled at?” he asked.

Saurabh Parmar, an entrepreneur, jumped into the conversation and said he had lived as a digital nomad and also in Vietnam for two years. “This is not new, tourism in India was always more expensive. In fact, now the costs are coming closer because Vietnam and Thailand are getting more expensive,” he said.

In May this year, Vietnam+ reported that the search volume of accommodations in Vietnam was rising rapidly, ranking 11th in the world. The biggest sources of search about Vietnam’s tourism included the US, Japan, Australia, Singapore, India, Thailand, France, Germany, the UK, and the Republic of Korea.

Two months later in July, the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism said the country had welcomed nearly 5.6 million international visitors in the first half of this year, accounting for 66 per cent of the figure the country recorded in 2019 before the Covid outbreak.
 
Abhishek Rai, an investor, said that he visited Bali, Hanoi, and Phuket three times while Goa only once as it was two-and-half times costlier. “Go to Bali/Hanoi/Phuket only. Been there 3 times this year. And one time to Goa. Goa was 2.5x costlier, filthier, and most importantly, didn’t feel good after spending so much money for the family. Compared to this, Vietnam Nha Trang was so much better. Goa has lost it,” he wrote on X.

Bali was placed second in Trip Advisor’s ‘Best of the Best Destinations’ ranking for 2023. Interestingly, Bali was the only Southeast Asian city in the top ten destinations. Ubud, a town in Bali, was ranked at fourth position in the ranking by Travel + Leisure Readers’ 25 Favorite Cities in the World of 2023. 

Monil Nitin Parikh, an entrepreneur, said Goa had become super expensive due to over-tourism. “It is not really cheaper even a week-long tour would cost over 1 lakh per person even if you take basic Bed & Breakfast type hotels. Goa has become super expensive due to over-tourism.”

In November last year, Savills, an international real estate consultant, said Goa had become a favourite location for people looking to purchase a second home because of its high rental yields. This rental yield, it said, ranges from 4 to 10 per cent. 

According to the consultant, the districts of Porvorim, Parra, Assagaon, Saligao, Anjuna, and Siolim had witnessed massive demand for independent residences and rented villas in gated communities. Depending on the size of the room and the number of villas, it said, the costs per night range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 100,000.

 


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