“For how long can we allow this government to ignore the warnings that stare us right in the face?”
Tell-tale signs of a degrading coastal belt has been there for a while, but Goa tourism ignored them as it focused on increasing tourism footfalls.
Module 2 of Goa tourism’s master plan warns about damage to the coastal belt of the state.
A 25-year-vision document is yet to be finalized, but module 2, which was discussed recently, pointed out that North Goa beaches across Bardez and parts of Pernem and Tiswadi are seeing mass tourism with scant regard for environmental conservation. Despite reaching maturity on the tourism life cycle, coastal Goa is experiencing uncontrolled mass tourism and remains unimaginative.
The module 2 specifically highlighted that sites known for turtle nesting are seeing a diminishing headcount. Waste management, fire safety, noise and soil pollution are key issues plaguing these beach stretches.
An official, who was part of the discussion on the master plan, said this should be an eye-opener for the tourism department and the government, that has remained indifferent to the ecology of the coastal belt.
Besides, waste management and cleanliness, the two important aspects, he said has been ignored by the government.
“Though the government has been spending crores of rupees on waste management, it can’t be said the job is being done thoroughly. The coastal belt of North Goa is congested and filthy when compared to some years ago,” he said.
“Calangute beach is the prime example of what uncontrolled mass tourism can do to any tourist spot. Calangute panchayat though has woken up, but, the damage is already done,” said the official.
The module 2 has suggested that pristine beaches in certain talukas have to be protected from high pressure in terms of possible development through ultra-luxury offerings. Some beaches have to be partially preserved to maintain the existing marine ecosystem such as turtle-nesting sites.
Goa needs to understand that in response to changing travel trends, coastal destinations which diversify their supply and integrate it with their inland areas display increased resilience to competition, and are more likely to succeed sustainably. And mass tourism, if not properly managed, destroys attractiveness, observed Module 2.
It suggested that in order to improve the most developed coastal areas of Goa, efforts need to be taken to upgrade and organize the existing product and enhance the tourist experience.
In less developed areas, the quality of tourist accommodation, facilities and activities should be upgraded and developed to provide a better visitor experience, it says.