In fact, the Government of India has asked Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) to work with the State government in Goa to promote coastal-nautical tourism under the Sagarmala scheme. These initiatives include a ropeway project, floating pontoons, etc. The government of India under the Sagarmala Project gave lots of financial support to the States in which Goa also is getting financial support for coastal, nautical tourism. The Union government is asking for plans from the Goa government.
Several seminars have been held in Goa on this issue, highlighting the State’s potential, especially after the mining closedown, dipping economy post COVID pandemic and rising fossil fuel prices. The State government has an opportunity and it can grab it with both hands by submitting a project report and its plans before the Union government and this needs to be done when the iron is hot.
Experts have also mentioned that while sailing down the west coast one cannot avoid Goa and hence, the State becomes a natural marine hub. Along with it Goa also happens to be an attractive tourist destination which includes tourists from European countries. Marine tourism is nothing but tourists coming in by boats. It brings in higher value tourists as has been proven in the world. The profile of marine tourists globally is of high-value. There are about 3,000 boats sailing between Europe and South East Asia. So if we even get five per cent of the traffic it would mean about 100-150 boats coming to Goa every year. That would really change our tourism profile for the better.
In Europe, the state recognised commercial ports of nautical tourism or more popularly known as the marina industry, regardless of whether a country has access to the sea or not, are an important part of any European economy. It is one of their mainstays to generate revenue and also allow the populace to enjoy the nautical tourism which also benefits a large section of society. The attractions of water are a dominant feature in tourism, hence the justification of the German term “Wassertourismus” or water tourism. Such tourism can be developed in all of water whether it is sea, lakes, rivers and canals, be it brackish or fresh water.
When the world is facing an economic slowdown especially after the virus attack, development in all industries, especially when seen in terms of new investments, has effectively halted. There is a reluctance to invest and a there is a general lack of confidence that has spread across the investors and even banks. The fact is that every crisis presents new opportunities for development at the same time the opportunities need to be identified, recognised and taken advantage of.
The changes in the developed world have taken place very rapidly in nautical tourism. The trips have become shorter, though more frequent. The capacities of yachts, marinas, cruisers, ports and attractive destinations are being used in better ways, and the demand for ‘value for money’ has become more important and is growing. What is currently on offer in Europe in the field of nautical tourism meets all these demands, and ensures its development.
At the same time, there is still considerable space for investment in marinas, the charter business and cruising throughout Europe, and such investment is capable of realising significant returns that is not dependant on exceptional management. The stakeholders too are being benefitted by this segment and most importantly it contributes to the revenue of the nation. If it can happen in Europe, why cannot Goa have this?
Nautical tourism has demonstrated that this could be seen as an additional revenue generation source, especially when the economy needs a boost. Representatives of Scandinavian countries have visited Goa in the recent past and have suggested Goa to develop its coastal infrastructure so that nautical tourism can flourish. What is required is visionary and forward moving approach by the State government, good investors and lastly proper development of infrastructure. Goa needs to act fast and show its interest before the Union government so that more funds can be obtained and more jobs can be created with this new segment of tourism.