Panaji: Overcrowded, unclean Goa will get destroyed if it encourages more tourist arrivals, a top tourism and trade industry official said on Friday, adding that the state known for its beaches and nightlife may have already crossed its capacity.
Addressing a press conference here, Francisco Braganza, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), said unless the state gets its act together soon, the trademark ‘Goan Experience’ during a holiday to the small western Indian state may well become a thing of the past.
“I think maybe we have crossed our carrying capacity and anyone who has been suggesting that we should increase the numbers is seeking destruction of the tourism experience in Goa,” said Braganza, whose TTAG has been the voice of the state’s tourism and travel industry for several decades.
Goa annually draws three million tourists, nearly twice its native population.
While tourists as well as residents complain about the state’s infrastructure not being commensurate with the tourist arrivals, it is for the first time that a top official of the travel and tourism industry has officially commented on the imbalance.
In the recent past, the state tourism ministry has said that it is aiming for 10 million tourist arrivals by 2017.
“We are an overrun destination. Where we had nice palm trees we (now) have commercial activity to such an extent that the whole Goan Experience is lost,” Braganza said.
“We are doing infrastructure development without planning. Every MLA and minister is beefing up his own constituency and there is no plan as such. Each one is doing what they want and they say they are building infrastructure,” Braganza said.
Braganza also said lack of cleanliness on Goa’s popular beaches was one of the causes for a very recent slump in tourist arrivals.
“For me the more serious issue is the cleanliness of the beaches. And if we complain that tourists have reduced, it is because our beaches are not visitable any longer,” Braganza said.
Goa, one of the more renowned beach and night-life tourist destinations in India, also draws half a million foreign tourists anually during the tourism season of October to March, which coincides with the harsh winter in Europe.