With continued opposition to some of its projects in North Goa, it appears Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC) is now looking at South Goa to launch new services.
While opposition by locals pushed its services – hot air balloon and helicopter services – to South Goa, it believes addition of few more tourism-related activities in the South could turn it into a tourism hub which currently, relatively receives fewer tourists. than its north counterpart.
GTDC chairman Nilesh Cabral said that though they have shifted the hot air balloon service and helicopter service to South Goa, addition of more tourism services will divert flow of tourists to the South. Currently tourists are concentrated in North Goa alone. Tourism in South Goa, Cabral says, is limited to a few beaches besides Dudhsagar waterfalls.
The hot air balloon and helicopter services were relocated to South Goa after they were opposed by Calangute locals supported by MLA Michael Lobo and former MLA Agnel Fernandes. To add value to tourism in South Goa, GTDC is planning to start a laser show at the botanical gardens at Selaulim and bungee jumping as well. While the location for the bungee jumping activity has not been decided yet, he said it will be done soon.
“We do realize that for a tourist it is not economically attractive to travel to South Goa to avail of just one or two kinds of services. The number of tourists visiting South Goa will increase if we have more activities and attractions there,” said Cabral.
He added that he will speak to other BJP MLAs in South Goa who will co-operate with the GTDC in the event of them moving any of their projects in their constituency.
Currently, foreign tourists as well as high-end domestic tourists visit South Goa beaches which are more serene and beautiful; it is primarily domestic tourists who flock to Colva, and other North Goa beaches.
The Colva coastal circuit project-meant to improve tourist infrastructure facilities in the South Goa hotspot – lost its central funding due to delays in the execution of the project. The state government had to surrender funds to the Centre. The Centre had sanctioned 7.58 crore to initiate the project.
Most of the South Goa beaches lack proper access and parking facilities while focus of development of tourism facilities remained in North Goa.
Shack operators from South Goa have complained of lack of access to some beaches, as well as shortage of parking space. The problem becomes apparent on weekends during season time.