Herald: Will the ostrich-like approach to taxi imbroglio help Goa Tourism?

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Will the ostrich-like approach to taxi imbroglio help Goa Tourism?

04 Mar 2019 05:46am IST
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04 Mar 2019 05:46am IST

With the tourists, both domestic and international footfalls dwindling, the state government needs to realise and accept that one of the major issues that has deterred the tourists from visiting Goa is the exhorbitant taxi fare. Many of the tourists who land in the State get the first shock when they realise that Goa does not have Ola or Uber taxi services. The dwindling number of domestic tourists visiting Goa is primarily because the amount spent on taxi fares is nearly 40 per cent of the budget that tourists have earmarked for the Goa trip.
Many of them get to know only after landing in Goa that their budget has already gone haywire as they will have to shell out more money to travel within the State than anticipated in the era of app-based taxi services. This is not a pleasant experience and netizens take no time to criticise in various blogs and social media that travel within Goa is expensive and not hassle-free. Social media can play havoc in spreading the message across the world and it almost next to impossible to salvage the drowning image. Any number of trips by Goa Tourism officials and exhibitions held whether in India or abroad, is unlikely to draw the prospective spending tourist who looks for comfort, budget and experience for their well-earned yearly holiday. Tourists also have complaints that many iconic points like Dona Paula jetty, etc, are closed for maintenance during the season. This requires advance planning by the authorities to give the tourists the best what Goa Tourism has to offer. 
Goa has plenty of hotels and the number has increased many-folds due to entry of OYO and AirBnB. What is lacking is the mode of cheap travel within the State. A tourist will not take a Kadamba bus to travel from South Goa to North Goa. However, the Hop on-Hop off bus service in the State has given some relief to the visitors who get to see some of the iconic points of the State at a cheaper rate and a comfortable service.
Interestingly and ironically, many tourists consider the small State of Goa which has an area of 3702 square kilometres, as city and not a State. Many of them are not even aware that Goa has two distinct districts. This is natural as the state is smaller in area than the Bellary district of Karnataka which has 8447 square kilometres of area.
What is required is a better competition, regulation, technology to open the market which could bring down the price or tariff for a tourist and at the same time enhance the business of the taxi operators. Since the unions of the taxi operators are strong and cohesive it is even difficult for the State government and its supporting agencies to resolve this imbroglio and bring in a solution to this menace. This ostrich like approach will not help the State in the long run and it is time to take the bull by its horns.
If Swiggy, Zomato, etc, can enter Goa then why not Ola or Uber? The government needs to put its wisdom and resources together to ensure that the people who would love to come to Goa for their holidays do not start venturing out to Thailand, Vietnam, Kerala, Gujarat, etc. If Gujarat can market its Rann of Kutch, Sabarmati Aashram, Statue of Unity and all top hotels and home stays, Goa has 42 beaches along with heritage of Portuguese architecture and beautiful iconic churches and temples, but what is lacking in the State is the easy and cheaper transportation within Goa. Hopefully, the upcoming policy for the next tourist season will address this issue and market it well enough to restore the confidence of the tourists who would love to visit the State.
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