The much celebrated Goa holidays during Christmas and Goa parties on New Year’s Eve has faded out due to the high cost of air tickets to the smallest state of India.

According to tourism officials, except for the days of Christmas and New Year, travel business in Goa was very low during the full holiday season. The high hike in air and bus fares has really hit the tourism industry hard. The rest of the season has been extremely poor, Gaurish Dhond, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), was quoted as saying in media.

Dhond said competitive prices offerd by some airlines to locations outside the country was the main reason for the lean tourism. While airfares to Goa were costing about $660 from India’s capital Delhi, Malaysia and Sri Lanka were luring Indian travelers by offering three-night packages for $330 that included flight tickets as well. “Why will domestic tourists want to come to Goa if competing destinations abroad offer such cheap rates, Dhond said.

TTAG forsees the hike in fares as a threat to Goa tourism and has urged intervention of the state and central governments to cut down on the sky-rocketing ticket prices. Something has to be done to control the airfare. Such pricing will kill the tourists coming to Goa, he said.

Goa, the famous beach city of India by the Arabian Sea, receives maximum number of tourists, both dometic and international, during Christmas and New Year holidays.

Widely known for its raving parties around this time of the year, Goa witnessed a decline in tourism over the last two years due to various factors such as the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, global economic downturn and stringent visa regulations by India in 2009, and heightened security issues with foreign tourists. Travel industry experts in India feel that hiking bus and airfares “irrationally” can also affect arrivals.