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Goan tourism past, present & the future

Back in the colonial times Portuguese men were referred to as ‘Paklo’, but after liberation (19th December 1961) another type of Paklo entered the scene. These white men and women did not use military force to conquer, they arrived as guest and gave boost to a tradition that still lives on; today known as ‘Tourism’.

Where did it all start?

It was in mid 60’s when a guy, who went by the name ‘Eight Finger Eddie’ (Real name, Yertward Mazamanian), introduced his hippie mates to Goa. Tourism in Goa didn’t even exist back then. It is believed the first restaurant was started by Ajuna local, Diogo Almeida alias Joe Banana. Joe would travel to Mapusa on his bicycle and come back with vegetables, cook a delicious meal and serve it to the hippies (Who, soon started to show up in Goa in large numbers). This was the beginning of the tourism sector in Goa.

Impact of tourism in Goa

Tourism has given international fame to Goa, generating thousands of jobs in the state for locals to engage in for sustenance. But, there are two sides to each coin and there have been some negative impacts of tourism as well.
Economically tourism generated immense revenues. It also helped in developing infrastructure in the state from this revenue itself. But, things have changed now. Under the guise of development, the environment has been sacrificed. Some coastal areas have become concrete jungles. Overcrowded and mismanaged, they have very long ago, lost their charm.

Current status

Over the past few years the picture has been changing rapidly. The chartered flights to Goa, bringing in the essential foreign tourist has seen a decline. Although domestic and Russian tourists have made up for the lost numbers, industry insiders still feel it’s the quality not the quantity that matters.

This decline in number of tourists visiting Goa is leading to unemployment on a large scale, “3/4th of the staff of our company was laid off during the peak season, due to poor numbers of tourists coming to the state” a source from the industry informed.

Future

Goa still has a lot to offer, but there are ‘no takers’. Problems in a few areas have brought a bad name to the state. All hope is not lost though. Goa has to offer ‘more for less’ as it has been losing ground to Kerala and Sri Lanka (due to them being a cheaper option).

The state also needs to regulate growth in this sector as unregulated growth has marred its reputation. That means fewer commercial structures in these sites, helping it preserve the essence of the area. The state needs an image change, which mostly attracts the wrong lot of tourists.

If the government can regulate this sector (which is the need of the hour) and get quality tourists to increase their footfall, than surely the state can return to its former glory. Also, Goa needs to promote itself more than it currently does, as the campaign seems a bit unfocused and results are nowhere to be seen.

Surely, Goa can learn a lesson or two from the Incredible !ndia Ad campaign.

Written by Shailesh Shriram Tanpure

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