February 22, 2024

Radha Krishna Temple on the BITS Pilani Goa Campus in Zuarinagar,Sancoale Vasco is changing into the favored vacationer spot within the State of Goa. Picture: @TourismGoa

Goa’s tourism trade is on the cusp of transformation, with the state authorities now specializing in selling religious websites, heritage properties and agriculture tourism. The purpose is to shift the main focus of tourism past seashores. That is taking place at a time when hoteliers and restaurant homeowners are dealing with important enterprise loss, with dwindling footfalls within the state. The Small and Medium Hoteliers Affiliation (SMHA) has highlighted the shortage of ease of doing enterprise within the state, visa points for international vacationers, and excessive costs as in comparison with different vacationer locations like Thailand and Sri Lanka.

International vacationer arrivals within the state have but to recuperate to pre-Covid ranges. Moneycontrol reported in December final 12 months on how the hospitality trade has been dealing with challenges within the state, resulting in a low turnout of travellers regardless of the height winter season. Altering laws, licensing necessities, and insurance policies have posed challenges for the tourism trade.

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In response, the state authorities is transitioning from a sea-shore-centric tourism mannequin to a extra inclusive and people-centric method. In line with Rohan A. Khaunte, Minister of Tourism, Goa, “the influence of local weather change and democratization requires a paradigm shift past sustainability in direction of regenerative tourism.” The main focus is now on “aware” tourism that takes under consideration financial, social, and environmental impacts and addresses the wants of holiday makers, the trade, the atmosphere, and host communities. The state authorities is selling 11 religious websites as a part of the regenerative tourism mannequin.

The 11 temples which have been recognized to advertise religious tourism in Goa embrace Shree Shantadurga Kukalkarin Fatorpa, Saptkoteshwar Narve Bicholim, Brahmakarmali Sattari, Mahaganpati Khandola, Mangesh temple Mangeshi, Mahalsa temple Mardol, Mahadev mandir Tambdi Surla, Damodar Devsthan Zambauli, Parshuram temple Paigin, Hari Mandir Margao, Shree Datta mandir Sankhli.

Goa which can also be selling itself as Dakshin Kashi final 12 months signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Uttarakhand authorities to advertise religious, wellness, and eco-tourism circuits and collaborate on creating joint tourism packages to facilitate vacationer footfalls to Goa and Uttarakhand. “The message we have now put throughout is connecting Dakshin Kashi with Uttar Kashi,” Khaunte stated.

The initiative additionally noticed the inauguration of the primary direct flight between Goa and Dehradun, from Indigo Airways which was launched on Might 23, 2023.

‘We’re touching upon tier II cities that are extra on the religious facet. We want to improve connectivity throughout Nagpur, Nasik, Dehradun, Ranchi, Varanasi, with Goa,” he added.

The minister stated that a mean home vacationer who involves Goa stays for about 4 nights and a global customer stays for 9 nights.

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“Home vacationers would need to keep extra for religious tourism to know the temples extra. The 11 temples is only a begin and there are numerous extra. As for worldwide vacationers we’re speaking about yoga, meditation, and different such actions and round 5 to 6 days of the entire 9 days we’re utilizing for these actions. This manner the vacationer understands the brand new notion of Goa. Earlier vacationers got here for nightlife, casinos and seashores however in the present day we’re we would like folks to discover Goa in a different way,” he added.

Tourism 2.0

The brand new method additionally contains heritage properties and the state is anticipating to launch a heritage coverage by subsequent month. “Now we have outdated Portuguese sort of heritage properties and thru the heritage coverage, we will give help system to individuals who need to guarantee they will renovate their home to a sure level and it’s used for tourism. Heritage homes will probably be supported by the Goa authorities by way of capital. Now we have recognized 30 homes within the first-year for heritage homes. Homes over 100 years will come below heritage properties. This will probably be a part of heritage tourism which can let vacationers keep in such properties,” Khaunte stated.

The state authorities has additionally launched two insurance policies together with homestay to offer alternatives to the native communities to enter the tourism sector whereas the caravan coverage is to advertise the hinterlands of the state. Goa authorities is trying to promote the hinterlands of Sattari, Dharbandora, Sanguem, Bicholim, Ponda, Quepem and Canacona.

“Now we have accomplished MOU with Airbnb. We’re additionally moving into an MOU with MakeMyTrip, Agoda and plenty of extra gamers. Now we have requested these platforms to make sure regulated locations so no unregistered motels are listed on these platforms to keep away from income leakages and to make sure transparency,” Khaunte famous.

The state can also be selling sustainable agriculture practices. “This entails supporting native farmers and showcasing natural farming methods by offering vacationers an genuine style of Goa ‘s culinary traditions,” the minister stated.

The state can also be taking on sports activities tourism as a precedence particularly to drive footfalls through the non-peak seasons.

Tourism development

The tourism trade makes up 16.43 p.c of the state’s gross home product (GDP) and is predicted to develop by 4-5 p.c over the following three years. Nonetheless, it is very important be sure that we don’t over-exploit our assets and as an alternative deal with creating financial and employment alternatives. Tourism is liable for about 34 p.c of the employment in Goa, offering a big quantity of jobs. The federal government is trying to create self-employment alternatives for folks and spend money on upskilling applications. The minister emphasised the necessity to change the notion of Goa and deal with extra than simply seashores. Regardless of the pandemic, Goa nonetheless receives round 10 million home vacationers yearly, and the federal government is now prioritizing high quality tourism and high quality spending over sheer numbers.