Being the number one domestic travel destination for Indians and a cheap yet exotic and cultural tourism hotbed for foreign travellers, Goa’s beaches have experienced massive tourist footfall for well over two decades. This trend has in time put immense pressure on Goa’s coastal manmade and natural resources, and has therefore forced Goa’s tourism industry to switch its focus to Goa’s rivers/backwaters with their rich ecosystems and picturesque landscapes that remain comparatively untapped.
An official attempt to revamp Goa’s river systems is underway with Goa’s Chief Minister reportedly stating that the government’s priority is Goa’s waterbodies with waterfronts like the Chapora River undergoing a revamp as well. He continued to state that the portion of water/land between Chapora and Colvale could also be developed as an area of tourist interest.
As the record stands, Goa’s waterbodies are cumulatively about 650km in length, with the chief minister’s sights set on utilising an extra 250km through dredging. Continuing his dialogue on Goa’s tourism industry’s need to tap into its waterway’s potential to earn foreign exchange, he stated that a tourist who lands at Goa’s international airport at Dabolim should be able to commute to beaches like Baga, Calangute, etc. not only by road but via boats as well, thereby reducing the pressure on roads. He went on the conclude that river jetties near Goa’s quaint inland villages should also be constructed as a way to divert pressure from the already overburdened beach belts.
With Goa playing host to around 4million tourists each year, such steps as formerly mentioned are the need of the hour. Having said that, sustainable development is key if Goa’s to have any chance of maintaining its culture rich and aesthetically pleasing identity for time immemorial.