25 Mar 2023  |   04:56am IST

Need for affordable tourism in Goa

Goa is one of the most popular tourism destination in the country and the government has on many occasions expressed the need to woo high spending tourists in the State with an emphasis on promoting quality tourism.

As coastal tourism is beyond the reach of the common man, nature tourism and backwaters need to be explored so that every tourist takes golden memories of a holiday here. 

 The State's Forest Development Corporation has decided to push for nature tourism and attention has to be paid that at least this form of tourism will be affordable to the common man.

Planning has to be done keeping in mind the rich biodiversity of the State and it is possible to develop small tourist destinations in Goa easily. This also presents the Goa Forest Development Corporation and Goa Tourism Development Corporation with an opportunity to include the common people in the work of environment conservation. It is the need of the hour for tourists to have accommodation facility available for less than Rs 500 and a one-time meal that would cost less than Rs 100. For that, the government will have to fix the plan first since lack of such a plan is the reason why there are no affordable tourist spots in the State. There is no objection to developing five star tourist spots in a few places but there is no doubt that more stress has to be put on developing destinations which could be affordable for all. The reason behind failure to develop affordable tourism could be the huge costs required to create basic amenities which include construction of buildings, beautification of the premises and general maintenance. This is why it is not possible for the private business owners to provide accommodation at low rates unless the Forest Development Corporation lends their properties to such business owners at reasonable rent. While creating all this, the employment generation at the local level cannot be neglected either. The Government should provide the required facilities at the tourist places and the responsibility of the management should be handed over to the locals. The government can even opt for public-private partnership to do the needful. There is huge scope for nature tourism in the State and the fact that tourism is a foreign exchange earner cannot be ignored. The people related with hospitality industry can earn handsomely thanks to the tourists, domestic and international, alike. However, the major chunk of the financial gains goes to hotel owners and the tour operators. The crucial components of the tourism system which are locals and tribals who reside near the wildlife sanctuaries and the national parks do not get anything out of it. Whatever they earn is scant. In fact, the locals are the ones who are at the receiving end due to the sanctuaries and national parks. Whether it's about the damage to the crops by wild animals or the attacks on their pets, it's the locals who suffer the most. Many times flocks of birds eat the grains from the ground post-sowing from the fields which are close to the forested areas. Moreover, the locals have to spend sleepless nights trying to protect their crops from the wild animals. If these locals are included in nature tourism's management and protection of the forests, then two things could be possible. While the locals whose crops are damaged by the wild animals would get partial compensation some families could be given permanent or temporary employment through which they would also be demonstrated with the importance of forests and wild animals. Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, is Goa's identity and the push for tourism should not neglect its conservation. There are excellent craftsmen in the rural areas but they do not have the knowledge regarding the world and customers' changing demand as well as the market. It's also not feasible to launch such artisans in the world market outright. Instead, if the picnics are organised where the village industries are active then it's possible to introduce more and more people to the rural Goa with minimal manpower. This could also be a game-changer for local products to get a market and hence, this should also be included in nature tourism. When a tourist views natural sources such as land, water, clean air, rivers, nullahs, mountains, valleys, sand, trees, animals, forests and so on as a form of tourism, it means that he/she desires to witness it in an organic, non-superficial manner. It's possible if nature tourism is given a push or it will not take long for the tourist spots to turn into concrete jungles.


Idhar Udhar