By Tomazinho Cardozo
Come November and the tiny state of Goa particularly the coastal belt of Goa will be bustling with tourists and tourism related activities. Goans particularly those directly or indirectly involved in tourism activities welcome this season with open arms because it is their only time to make a fast buck.
Goans who have considered tourism as a bane and not a boon every year display a negative attitude as, according to them, tourism has also helped in deteriorating the value system in the Goan society and in the destruction of Goa’s environment.
The third type of Goan - the common man - who is not directly or indirectly involved in tourism activities and who is totally indifferent to the consequences of tourism is also affected basically due to increasing prices.
There is no doubt that tourism is a number one industry in Goa as far as positive impact on Goa’s economy is concerned. It is for this reason that tourism in Goa has to be taken seriously. Taking tourism seriously means finding ways and means to attract more tourists to Goa. In order to do so, does the Government take necessary steps in that direction?
Cleanliness in Goa needs to be improved. The beaches and places of importance are full of dirt and plastic waste is found scattered here and there. Such sights give a very bad impression about Goa to the visitors.
Goa being an important tourist destination, the garbage disposal issue should have been on the top of all other works, unfortunately, it is not so.
‘Lamanis’ or non-Goans have invaded the beaches and other places in Goa. They sell fruits, mineral water, different articles, etc, besides giving massage right on the sea-shore. These ‘lamanis’ not only harass the tourist, but they also convert our beautiful beaches into dirty market places. The Government is just a mute spectator to this disgusting scenario.
Taking a survey of the religious places in Goa, such as churches and temples, theses places too are found to be crowded with ‘lamanis’ who do the business of selling flowers to be offered to God, thereby creating a sort of embarrassment to the visiting tourists. The beautiful gardens have got a lot of benches which are occupied by not the tourists but by workers from outside Goa.
If the Government wishes to attract more tourists to Goa and the Government desires that tourists go back with a pleasant impression of Goa and its people, then the Government must rectify the happenings taking place on the beaches and at other places without any further delay.
Tourism has come to stay in Goa. Hence, anti-tourism activists cannot be ignored by the authorities that be. The voice of anti-tourism activists is the voice of those Goans who feel Goa should continue to exist in its purest form environmentally, socially, politically, etc, which was not possible in the 20th Century and will not be possible in the 21st century. Goa has to move with the time, but not at the cost of our value system and environment. Hence can the Government not devise ways and means to arrest the ill-effects of tourism so that clean and modest tourism exists in the state of Goa? Can the Government not stop any further construction of buildings and housing complexes which destroys green hills and fields? Can the government not stop the spread of deadly drugs among the youth of Goa? Where there is a will there is a way. The government has to act and act decisively in order to eliminate the menace of the ill-effects of tourism in the Goan society.
The common man should not suffer because of tourism. The rise in prices particularly in the tourist season makes many essential commodities unaffordable to the common man. He finds difficulty even in travelling in public transport because the drivers prefer foreigners to locals. Many a time the locals face similar attitude from the hoteliers and restaurant owners who prefer white skin tourists to sons of the soil of Goa. The government must take appropriate action against such people who insult Goans in their own soil.
On analysing these issues, it is observed that there are a lot of negative aspects to tourism and tourism related activities which can have a devastating effect on Goa, Goans and its culture. Hence it is the prime duty of the government to see that the ill effects of tourism are arrested effectively so that we can say tourism helps in developing Goa in the true sense of the word.