A vacation? An escape? A family holiday? A solo trip? Impromptu plans? There are many reasons why tourists come to Goa, making tourism a major contributing factor to Goa’s economy. Living like there’s no tomorrow! That’s what every Goa trip is about. And of course, Goa does offer some amazing beaches, waterfalls, beach shacks, a variety of booze, nightclubs, water sports, serene countryside, to make your trip fun and filled with memorable experiences.
With a state that has been booming in tourism for years, there was no doubt that when travelers had to look for travel destinations within the country, Goa was right on top of their bucket list. The Goa government has also been making major developments to boost tourism which will, in turn, bring more employment to the state. In 2020, a new Goa tourism policy was framed to offer everyone visiting Goa a uniquely versatile concoction of natural, historic, ethnic, cultural locations and attractions. The government has also been doing tremendous work to build Goa’s second greenfield international airport in Mopa with the capacity to handle 30 million passengers annually.
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With the work from home culture becoming a new trend in India, many working professionals and startup owners have shifted temporarily to Goa to work while sipping on a child beverage by the beach. Why miss out on such an opportunity to work from paradise, right? This means that tourism development will now shift towards attracting long-stay and high-value domestic tourists as foreign travel has become a burdensome process.
Goa is full of fascinating places and for it to remain that way, we have certain responsibilities as citizens that we must follow. Not only tourists, but even Goans have the moral responsibility to keep the state clean and conserve nature. The government should also consider a lot of factors while going ahead with the development. Goa’s beaches cover about 125 kilometers of its coastline and we also have some of the countries most beautiful waterfalls and water bodies. But there always existed a major plastic pollution problem in Goa tourism with beaches and offbeat locations in Goa being littered with every visit. But it has also been unfortunate to see that even locals have been contributing to this plastic pollution in their own village and surrounding localities. And if this problem grows it will be difficult for a single organization to fix it. The recent flooding in Goa causing bridges and houses to collapse was not just a mere coincidence due to heavy rains. It was a simple eye opener that nature is trying to give us a sign. There is a growing need for sustainable development in tourism in Goa, and the connection between tourism and the environment is much stronger than we actually perceive it to be.
Nikita Bragança says, “The tourism department in Goa can start a recycling project where people can exchange trash for cash. The smallest act of recycling your recyclable materials reduces landfill waste and pollution, conserves resources, and helps to keep our world clean and livable. Sustainable tourism also needs to be given more importance. Sustainability is a critical matter in Goa considering how vital it is to conserve and protect nature. Environmental sustainability in fact now dictates the itineraries of a large majority of travelers either way. Being earth-friendly is attractive and anyone would always love to have the option of being more earth-friendly. There are a lot of options now because of renewable energy and new technologies that make going green possible as long as interest is being taken.”
Tristan Fernandes also agreed on similar lines stating, “The government should come up with innovative garbage bin at tourist spots which gives out the travelers some kind of return gifts for protecting and preserving the beauty of the place they visit.”
Goa is blessed with rich biodiversity and the state should definitely consider the possibility of promoting ecotourism. As alternative tourism, ecotourism is a type of tourism based on the experience of nature itself, which will enable the economic and social development of local Goan communities. Ecotourism is entirely nature-centric and involves visiting natural areas to experience and learn about nature, its landscape, flora and fauna, their habitats, as well as local culture and history. This thereby provides an alternate source of livelihood to the local communities in Goa which is more sustainable. With the sustainable use of resources that ecotourism brings in, it can provide a marvelous ecological experience to travelers, thus gaining an economic benefit in the state.
Ankit Talaulikar, an admirer of nature strongly believes that everybody loves nature and being around it, especially after the series of lockdowns we’ve had, we long for a piece of calm somewhere deep within which is best found amidst nature. It is our mother and we are a part of it after all. He has seen that many people have been flocking to hill stations, going to treks, kindling with nature in various ways possible, which proves a definite scope for tourism. We all will definitely agree with him that the key here is discipline! Putting it in simple words, anything used is ok, abused? Not so very much.
Addressing ecotourism, Ankit told us that, “Respect for everything around you with self-discipline guiding each and every tourist and locals in a region, coupled with innovative ideas and the will to do, can set the ship sailing towards 100% sustainable tourism. Goa’s rich ecology can play a huge role by pulling in people for much more than sun, sand, sea, and nightlife but yes a lot of research and planning needs to be done such as understanding the needs of the people, the balance and rules of nature, economic feasibility, etc. Yes, this will take time but isn’t impossible. There are examples such as Bhutan, Fiji which are leading the way. Goa being internationally recognized for tourism has a lot of scope to be a beacon of eco-tourism which is rapidly growing as an industry slowly. Perhaps all we need is to use a different lens to view things.”
The nation that destroys it’s soil, destroys itselfFranklin D Roosevelt
Every year on July 28th, we observe ‘World Nature Conservation Day’ to raise awareness of the urgent need to protect our Mother Earth. We have been constantly abusing our available natural resources and the ongoing climate change and natural calamities are the results. We must protect nature to ensure the well-being of the present and future generations.
Syble Dias says, “We all must protect our nature as responsible human beings and participate in various activities which help conservation and saving our planet earth. Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Instead of destroying it, we must work towards building harmony between humans and nature. We can help in the conservation of nature by planting trees, restricting the use of paper, stopping wastage of water and electricity, stopping ill practices such as hunting animals, and employing rainwater harvesting systems. If you look around you will see the earth crying for help.”
We have used and abused our natural resources to the fullest. And it’s time we take a step back and let nature heal itself. We were witnesses of this during the Covid19 pandemic in 2020. With human beings indoors, Mother Earth literally got a chance to breathe and find its right balance. It is our duty as human beings to let nature have this privilege.
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