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Goa great getaway for gamblers

Goa great getaway for gamblers

12 Aug 2017 No comment 38 hits

AHMEDABAD: Come Janmashtami, and there is free flow of money and gold in gambling. It often gains momentum around Saatam and Aatham holidays. Over the past five to seven years, travelling to out-of-state destinations such as Goa or even Hong Kong and Macau - known for their casinos, has become a popular trend for Gujarati gamblers.

"Goa is an all-time hit! Airfares to Goa usually skyrocket during this season and yet, customers don't mind paying a premium to book tickets even in the last fortnight or week to go to Goa," said Manish Sharma, managing director of a travel company.

"Airfares to Goa were almost doubled a fortnight ahead of Janmashtami. Despite this, those from the affluent class don't mind buying a ticket to Goa at a premium around this time," said Anuj Pathak, secretary, Travel Agents & Tour Operators Association of Gujarat.

Instead of couple or family trips, group tours are usually booked as people travel out with a specific purpose. "We're a group of 26 people travelling to Goa. We will leave on Sunday itself. Since gambling is illegal here, we prefer to travel to destinations wherever it is legal and we can enjoy," said Vishal Shah, a businessman.

Usually 24 carat gold bars along with coins are purchased by people who're specifically up for gambling, said jewellers. "24 carat bars can easily be encashed. Gold purchases are thus high around Janmashtami," said Jigar Soni, a city-based jeweller.

Some international destinations are also a hit with those who want to go for gambling.

"Sri Lanka has a few casinos and therefore is a preferred destination apart from Hong Kong and Macau which are also popular," said Pathak.

Taking advantage of the extended weekend with Independence Day falling on Tuesday and Pateti falling on Thursday, vacationers have already planned their getaways. Destinations such as Udaipur and Mount Abu being at shorter distances are quite popular. That apart, pilgrimage tours are also preferred by many.

"70% of our bookings are pilgrimage tours towards Somnath and Dwarka. Most of them are group tours ranging from 15 to 30 people travelling in mini busses," said Paresh Thaker, owner of a travels company.

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