The need for ‘well-behaved’ tourists in Goa

With Goa all set to welcome tourists during the season, Travel & Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) becomes choosy and wants penalties to be imposed on tourists who create nuisance

It is not just about scenic beauty accompanied by world-heritage-listed architecture, but about the culture and the vibes that Goa exudes. The State offers it all, which is why as soon as the lockdown and curfew was lifted in Goa, tourists started flocking to the State. While most tourists are generally well behaved, there are those who go about creating a nuisance by littering the place, zooming around on rented bikes and cars, creating a ruckus, breaking bottles on the beach and the list goes on.

Nilesh Shah, President, TTAG

The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) wants penalties to be imposed on those tourists who create a nuisance. Goa is known as a family destination and that is the image that the sunshine State should have.

While striving for adequate planning and promotion of Goa in domestic and international markets, with the participation of industry stakeholders, TTAG President Nilesh Shah said international or domestic tourists should maintain decency.

To have sustainable tourism in Goa the best way to go about it, is to set down proper rules and regulations while ensuring that they are properly implemented. For example, when tourists travel specially by road, signage of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ should be put up at every tourist spot. If rules are broken they need to be punished or fined”.

Shah says, “We welcome all tourists coming in Goa. However, we want well-behaved tourists in Goa. We do not want tourists creating nuisance and those cooking by the roadside. If unruly tourists travel to Goa, it will affect the local public, as well as the other tourists travelling with their families.”

Further Shah stated that be it global or domestic vacationers, both ought to follow decorum and respect the local culture. “Goa is known as a family destination and we do not want to disturb that part of it. Tourist police force should be activated and complaints should be addressed fast. Beach cleaning, changing rooms and toilets should be maintained. It should be properly used by the tourists so that it can be sustained”, he continued.

For people who travel by road for overnight picnics he suggests about camping sites in north and south Goa, where people can use paid camping sites. “To attract the right type of tourists we need right type of camping facilities. Illegal hotels and villas which are not on the tourism network have to be cut off. We have to address the issue of transport system and implemention of taxi meters, as well as good bus network at all tourists spots. Our tag line as ‘a friendly tourist destination’ shouldn’t get eroded,” he added.

Shah’s comments came less than a month after Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had said something similar and had added that Goa wants ‘richest tourists’.

According to Shah, the government has allocated `5,000 crore for the policy of promotion of hinterland and eco-tourism and he suggests that the government should take locals into confidence while promoting these offbeat places.

“Tourism is the best industry which Goa can take forward. Tourism will boost all segments of economy in Goa, given that we depend on tourism, right up from vegetable vendors to people working in hotel industry or any other sector. In Goa, tourism is there for each and every segment of the industry. There is scope for Russian, French and Portuguese speaking guides. Tourist guides programme should go with language training programme,” he added.

Saurabh Khanna, General Manager, The Park Calangute

The TTAG President further said the State government has already constituted the Goa Tourism Board to be headed by the Chief Minister. There would be sixteen members, eight from the industry and eight from the government.

The duties of the Goa Tourism Board involve the development of comprehensive guidelines and plan the implementation of the initiatives set out in the Goa Tourism Master Plan such as tourism education, marketing and promotion activities, new tourism services through State funding, development of infrastructure, and private sector participation.

Meanwhile Saurabh Khanna, General Manager, The Park Calangute says that the right infrastructure is needed in order to develop the right mindset among tourists. “To develop the right mindset for the long-term we need right infrastructure, facilities, discipline and marketing compared to the other world-class tourist destinations. For people looking for an experience like camping, we can create an additional organised sector to manage these tourists. We need to ensure that the tourists follow the law of the land and all necessary protocols, just like how the same tourists will follow all protocols when visiting an international destination. It is about a gradual cultural and mindset shift, which may take time and stricter controls over people adding a nuisance value. It is up to the tourism stakeholders to practice responsible and sustainable tourism for the growth of the industry in Goa. The good pace of vaccination in Goa has created a positive image and helped in creating confidence amongst tourists about Goa”.

Rajesh Dempo, Managing Director, Vision Dempo Hospitality and Estates Pvt. Ltd.

With Goa having opened up after a non-existent season in May this year, one cannot afford to be selective. Rajesh Dempo, Managing Director, Vision Dempo Hospitality and Estates Pvt. Ltd while stressing on the need for high-end tourists in Goa, he is also of the opinion that Goa cannot afford to be choosy and stop anybody from travelling to the State. “The Goa tourism department along with local authorities should enforce strict laws which should be implemented in line with other countries. Tourist police manning beaches and prominent tourist spots are an absolute must not just to enforce the law, but also to guide tourists. Goa needs good and efficient transport system, washrooms and changing rooms at tourist spots and traffic and parking management. This will benefit tourism stakeholders help Goa’s image as international tourist destination. Goa continues to be one of the world’s most sought after destinations. We will see further rise in footfalls with opening of international borders and commencement of charter flights. With vaccinations going on in full swing, people will feel more comfortable and confident to travel to Goa”.

Goa can experiment like tourist destinations across the world are doing – regulate accommodation, bring together communities to brainstorm and enforce sustainable tourism, thus attracting tourists who are looking for a peaceful holiday amidst nature; thus ensuring that the beauty of the State is preserved while sticking to its image as India’s topmost holiday destination.

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