It’s the sandy shores that come to mind first, when thinking about Goa. The beaches have always been the hot Favorite for the tourists to visit during their stay. A lot of tourism activities take place in and around the coast, be it Jet Ski rides, boat cruises or adventure activities like paragliding etc. Following the recent announcements by the central government, about developing the inland waterways under the ‘Sagarmala Project’ will have an immense potential to be explored in Goa.
The Goa government has shown interest in this project and will submit a report to the Ministry of Shipping, which has been appointed the nodal ministry to oversee this initiative. Under this project roads leading to the coast will be developed to facilitate smooth flow of traffic.
In context of Goa it is a very good opportunity, as it will lead to development of tourism activities on the rivers of Goa, which by far have not been utilized to their available potential.
House boats are a very good area to look into. Kerala successfully leads the way in this area in the country. Goa too has a similar topography to that of Kerala. The rivers in Goa have an un-matched beauty. This addition will only add up to the many attractions already available in the state.
Given that the state government is already thinking of expanding the water sports activities to hinterlands on these rivers, it would be a natural step to follow it up with ‘house boats’.
The state has the resources needed, in the sense of manpower needed for this expansion, with a thriving hospitality sector already in place.
For far too long the benefits of tourism industry have been focused towards the coastal areas. This new development would be a good opportunity for the people living in the hinterlands to get into this sector.
Not only would it create a healthy balance of tourist inflow in the two areas. Many people from the hinterland can take up jobs in this sector, decreasing their dependence on mining. This decrease will mean the effects of mining on the environment will be brought down.
These boats can be made partly self-sufficient by fitting solar panels on the roofs which can be used to power not all but at least some parts.
This is also a good opportunity for the locals to market their produce and wares to the tourists. This would save the locals the trouble of travelling to the market and the expose tourists to these native products. This would make their experience even more enriching.
Goa needs to plan the development that is going to take place in this area. This sector has the capacity to employ a substantial number people from the state. Hence, quintessential planning is the need of the hour to make sure benefits are evenly distributed. Planning will also help in decreasing the ecological impact of this activity.
Written by: Shailesh Tanpure