Goa tourism is getting restricted mostly to north Goa. The virgin, untapped coastal beaches and other touristic places from south Goa are totally neglected. South Goa beaches lack the basic amenities which are necessary for attracting high-end tourists.
This and many grievances have been aired by the shack owners who operate their businesses on the South Goa coast.
They said the overseas tourists who come to Goa mostly go few coastal beaches such as Calangute, Anjuna, Baga, Sinquerim, Ashvem, Manjrem and Arambol.
Whereas on other hand, the South Goa coastal beach belt which starts from Baina goes uptill Palolem covering Issorcim, Bogmalo, Velsao, Cansaulim, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Mobor, remains far from the reach of the tourists, they said.
They rued that shack owners, watersports operators, hoteliers, taxi operators and other stakeholders of the tourism industry from south Goa are not able to have the fruits of tourism to date.
Inacio Fernandes, a shack owner from Betalbatim, said that they always cooperate and support the government's policies, but at the same time the latter should promote and consider providing basic amenities such as drinking water, illumination, access road to beaches, police room, mobile toilet facilities, changing rooms etc., on the coastal belt.
He also said that south Goa beaches have the potential to draw high-end tourists as the beachline is long, clean and serene compared to the north Goa beaches.
Fernandes said that the allocation of beach shacks at 5 meters proximity to each other is not good for their business, instead there should be a 10 meters distance from each other.
Serafin Cota, President of Small Hoteliers said that in south Goa this year two days before Christmas, no hotel crossed 35 per cent of bookings. "Hotels are empty and business is not good. There is no benefit of business to taxi operators and other stakeholders in south Goa," he added.
He said that better bus services and transport connectivity need to be implemented in south Goa. Because if the transport cost and the hotel stay costs are high, then the tourists won't prefer Goa next time, he opined.
Pele Fernandes, a watersports operator from Benaulim, said that tourism in south Goa this year was dead. The tourists who come to Goa, mostly go to north Goa, he lamented.
He said that during the Covid pandemic, high-end tourists came to south Goa beaches since there was a restriction of movement abroad. "But this year low-end tourists who have come to Goa don't spend much and we don't get enough business," he added.
Alex D'Souza, a tourist taxi operator from Colva, said that there are not many facilities for the tourists on south Goa's beaches. There are no toilet facilities, drinking water, changing rooms, police room, illumination, road access etc near the beaches, he said.
He said that touts are creating problems for taxi operators. "There is no control over this situation wherein anyone comes and does any business on the coast. There are migrants who harass tourists and cheat them. Such things need to be stopped," he suggested.
Wayne, a Canada-based Goan, who was down for Christmas at Majorda, said that Goa is known as a tourist destination worldwide and considering this image, Goan beaches from south Goa should at least have basic amenities like washrooms, changing rooms, drinking water facilities etc.
"The tourists who visit Goa surely expect these things. But sadly in reality a lot of improvement and implementation to improve tourism is needed," Wayne added.