Goa, the domestic tourist or the foreign counterpart? The reality is very much different from what you think it is. One of the most discussed topics is what kind of crowd does the industry attract.
In the early 2000’s tourism sector in Goa soared to new heights, bringing in more tourist to Goa than was ever imagined. Intensity of Flights to Goa rose as well, because tourists from all over the world and country made their way to this tiny state. The tourists arriving at that point of time here were considered to be good spenders. This helped generate a good amount of revenue for the people involved in this tourism sector. You can find many people involved in the tourism sector having a rags to riches story.
But half a decade later that is mid 2000’s, mismanagement and lack of infrastructure led to well spending foreign tourists to scoot from the state, never to return. It was these tourists with a high capacity to spend that had generated immense revenues for the state. Losing their business dealt the biggest blow to the tourism industry in Goa.
What remains today of the tourism sector, is a mere shadow of its former self. Even though the state witnessed a 30% rise in the numbers of visitors to the state, commercial tourism amenities are never used to the full potential. Many hotels have spare rooms with no takers and restaurant owners find it difficult to break even at the end of the season (October – May).
Then why is the sector ailing even though there is a rise in the number of visitors to the state?
Well, rise in number can be attributed towards the increase in the number of budget tourists visiting Goa, who do not contribute much towards the local economy (Leading to a hollow growth in the state)
Resources do get stretched on catering to the budget travelers. Although not to discourage anyone from coming to Goa, the behavior of the budget tourists has been found to be unlikable.
The truth is not all foreign tourists are good spenders and polite in conduct, same goes for the domestic tourist as well. One distinction is that domestic budget tourists heavily outnumber the foreign ones.
Common complaints about the budget travelers
• Get drunk, act rude towards locals.
• Dress inappropriately, even while visiting the holy sites around the state.
• Involvement in illegal activities, predominantly drugs (consumption and sale). But are also known to rob and swindling locals as well as other tourists.
“As far as cleanliness is concerned, domestic tourist (budget travelers) are quite bad, which plays an important role in tourism” says Samruddi Naik, employee in the hospitality sector.
• Travel in cramped cars.
• Litter the place with paper waste and empty bottles (Alcohol, water, soft drink).
• Only buy ingredients locally as they carry their own cooking material (even a breathing chicken).
• They get drunk (drinking in public places), parade in their underwear on the beaches.
• Ogle and harass women (both foreign and domestic).
• Their conduct is very rude towards the locals. (For which they get beat up! occasionally).
• Look for cheapest alternatives.
• prostitution (consumers)
Compared to this lot, a charter tourist will spend at least 5 times more in one day than the budget travelers do and also chartered tourist stay longer.
It is not that the state does not like to welcome budget travelers; all are welcome to visit Goa. The behavior of the budget tourists is what puts a negative light on them. “Compared to the Domestic budget tourists, foreign budget tourists are much well behaved” a local from Calangute said. The tourism sector in Goa definitely needs some retrospection.
Written by Shailesh Shriram Tanpure