Goa could lose its appeal with tourists if not careful, say experts at the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management’s (IITTM) conference on ‘Sustaining Tourist Destinations’, held at International Centre Goa, Dona Paula.
In a major meeting of minds, various experts from India and abroad proposed strategies to rejuvenate Goa’s very real potential for a different kind of tourism and attract tourists from other markets.
Strategizing Goa’s potential for other kinds of tourism
“Goa’s tourism sector is currently at the consolidation stage after which there will come a stage of stagnation. Strategies of rejuvenation must be applied the moment tourism reaches this stage,” said SP Bansal, a nominated member of the board of governors, IITTM. He added that there is immense scope in the fields of heritage, health, and medicine in Goa. In fact, there are many UK citizens that come to India for medical and dental treatment. Perhaps it’s possible to capitalize on that.
“Goa is an exceptional destination in India because it has the unique feature of Portuguese culture and architecture. Heritage tourism must be taken seriously. The tourism industry also needs to have a tie-up with hospitals in Goa or have a panchakarma unit which will cater to health and medical tourism,” he said.
Hasan also said that Goa is a successful model to base this on because the locals are welcoming and pleasant and more importantly, it’s safe for women to travel to. “Culturally and architecturally, the Portuguese influence makes Goa stand out compared to other Indian states – this area can be further explored. Since Thailand has become Goa’s strong competitor in terms of beaches and watersports, Goa needs to improve its infrastructure to enhance the industry,”
Over-development is a major issue
Another expert, John Tribe, a professor of tourism studies at the University of Surrey, UK is of the opinion that development shouldn’t be overdone.
“If there is over-development, there is a tendency for everything to converge. Then there’s no particular reason for tourists to come to Goa because then it will be like every other tourist destination. You have to maintain low-key and aesthetic development that matches the landscape,” Tribe said.