Let tourists encounter Goa’s culture

Let tourists encounter Goa’s culture

On the occasion of world tourism day, the centre for social justice and peace (CSJP) has cautioned against narrowing tourism into an exclusive activity.

“Too often tourism is reduced to a one-dimensional flow of people from affluent countries to developing countries, within which visitors view holidays and tourism as an activity that is almost exclusively hedonistic in nature and scope,” said Fr Maverick Fernandes, secretary, CSJP.

In the process of pursuing recreation and rejuvenation, the tourist often misses out on one fundamental aspect of travel: to engage in real encounters with the visited, he opined. “While world tourism day seeks to foster awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value, the challenge in bringing about a fundamental transformation in the arena of tourism should also be addressed by policy makers,” Fernandes added. This year, world tourism day was celebrated with the theme of ‘Linking cultures to establish encounters’.

“The centre for responsible tourism (CRT), a joint initiative of Caritas-Goa and CSJP, is seeking to set back the negative impacts of tourism, and promote healthy patterns of tourism. Tourists should be able to encounter the multiple dimensions of Goan culture,” said Fr Valeriano Vaz, director, Caritas-Goa. “CRT also seeks to encourage responsible tourism by creating a paradigm within which tourism is fair and just to all stakeholders,” he added. “Culture is an inheritance and must be guarded and enhanced through encounters that pave for continual renewal and an appreciation of cultural pluralism,” Vaz said.

Seconding this sentiment, Fernandes noted, “Culture is one of Goa’s most precious assets and tourism must seek to advance itineraries through which there can be an encounter of cultures in all tourism spaces – be they food, music, dance, places of religious pilgrimage, rural life, occupational patterns, all aspects of nature, our hills, flora and fauna, birds, animals, our coastal areas, rivers, artistry, archaeology.”

“The interaction between people of different backgrounds and ways of life represents an enormous opportunity to advance tolerance, respect and mutual understanding,” Fernandes said, citing the message of world tourism organisation secretary general Taleb Rifai.

“It is also important to guard against Goan culture being reduced to a mere commodity,” he cautioned.

TNN | Sep 28, 2011, 02.32AM IST

Link – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Let-tourists-encounter-Goas-culture/articleshow/10147690.cms