I’ve always been hearing this one unremitting phrase, “Post mining, tourism is the backbone of Goa” and to be honest, I highly disagree. Because with all the menace and chaos that the incoming visitors have created, all I can say is that tourism has destroyed Goa. Yep, that is the harsh reality.
Goa has always been a cosy nook for people across the country and the world but even as this number keeps on increasing, tourism has only led to destroying Goa. From the Economic Survey report in the year 2016, it was revealed that Goa witnessed a 19.5 per cent growth in tourism with just over 63 lakh tourists arriving on our shores. To be specific, Goa received 63.31 lakh tourists which comprised 56.50 lakh domestic and 6.81 lakh foreigners. Even though these numbers are huge for a small state like ours, it hasn’t led to anything to be joyous about. The best way to think of this is by discussing the bad impact of tourism on various aspects in Goa, especially in the year 2018.
Tourism destroyed Goa’s ecology.
More tourism means more number of hotels, resorts, villas and holiday homes. For such a small state with so little land area, the number of these luxurious abodes is shockingly high and this leads to continuous conversion of fields, forests, biodiversity hotspots and mountains into concrete jungles. And then they try to replicate our natural beauty with their sad and terrible man made landscapes. The amount of cultivable land that has been converted into unnecessary tourist hotspots is simply baffling.
Increasing tourists means more number of incoming flights and for a small airport like the one at Dabolim, that number of air traffic is menacingly high. Hence, acres of beautiful lands with so many diverse flora and fauna in Mopa are being converted into one mega airport.
So many high end hotels and resorts are situated near lush green fields and along our beautiful coastline and this inevitably has lead to illegal and unsupervised disposal of waste into the fields and water bodies. This leads to fields turning toxic and a breeding home for diseases, and on the other end, our marine life is slowly deteriorating. These are just a few ways how tourism is destroying Goa’s ecosystem.
Tourism destroyed Goa’s lifestyle.
Goa has always been known as a state for its “Susegad” lifestyle. But in the last couple of years, that hasn’t been the case. The tourists that arrive do not want the calmness and peace we have to offer. They prefer dancing to loud blaring music all through the night until the Sun comes up. Music has always been a forte of every Goenkar with some soulful tunes inspired by the Portuguese and by our local brethren, but the music that is now played at these tourist-attracting parties is simply deafening. This makes it so hard for the residents to have a sound sleep after a tiring day because they have to listen to songs that have absolutely even the slightest meaning (or harmony) whatsoever.
Tourism has destroyed Goa’s traditional occupations and the locals along the coastline are now increasingly building shacks for tourists, in the need for fast money. Since we’re on the topic of occupation, so many Goans have dived into the taxi business, taking tourists across the state (at exorbitant high rates). This line of occupation has in its own way, led to the congestion of our Goan roads. On an average day you’ll find thousands of rented cars hoarding the streets with passengers making it so very hard for the locals to commute. And this has ineluctably forced the Government of Goa to build new bridges connecting major cities to ease the burden of this menace. But this has come with a price. The construction of new roads in addition to flyovers has displaced so many houses and families from lands on which they’ve lived for all these years.
Every true Goan cried when the Goa government decided to convert the beautiful Tiracol plateau into a golf course. The homes of all these innocent villagers would just be erased in the blink of an eye only so that somebody from somewhere else could hit a small ball into a hole in the ground. In every sense, tourism has destroyed Goa’s traditional lifestyle.
Tourism destroyed Goa’s ethics
This is probably one of the biggest nuisances that tourism has caused in this state. We can say this without a doubt that the drug menace in Goa is the product of increasing and minacious tourists. Yeah, this has to be put up there loud and clear. A lot of tourists, especially the domestic class have this spurious notion that Goa is the paradise for drugs and alcohol. But it is these tourists who have brought in these vices that are slowly destroying Goa’s peaceful legacy. So many shacks along the Goan coastline are homes to drug peddlers who thrive on tourists looking for some ‘fun’. You’ll find so many tourists who come to Goa because they feel they’ll have cheap and unlimited access to all kinds of narcotics and this is slowly turning into the truth due to external elements and agents who are only aiming at monetary gains. In the past year, Goa has seen a lot of deaths due to the high alcohol or/and drug overdose. And more often than not, it is our young Goans who also fall prey to this evil.
Tourism destroyed Goa’s image.
In 2018 alone, so many incidents have occurred wherein tourists have been found misbehaving in public places. These actions by our unwanted visitors have either been under the influence of alcohol or narcotics or simply under the impression that Goa is a forgiving state, but the truth is, every Goenkar’s patience is slowly running out. We will go out of our way to move mountains for our guests, but if you abuse that privilege, we’ll drop the mountain on you.