Stakeholders call for heritage tourism in Goa

Tourism insiders turn to history and heritage to revive fortunes, as activists seek preservation of monuments
THE WAY FORWARD: Heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential in Goa, provided it's properly packaged and marketed.
THE WAY FORWARD: Heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential in Goa, provided it's properly packaged and marketed.Gomantak Times

PRASAD SAWANT

The sharp decline in the number of foreign as well as high-end tourists visiting Goa, and opting for other tourism destinations instead, has set alarms bells ringing among stakeholders in the tourism industry.

This is leading to stakeholders looking at other attractions to lure travellers, and suggesting that Goa’s large number of heritage monuments and sites could be utilised from the point of view of tourism.

THE WAY FORWARD: Heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential in Goa, provided it's properly packaged and marketed.
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“We have been blessed with heritage, but it is not being utilised enough. If properly packaged and marketed, heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential,” says President of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), Nilesh Shah.

"Tourists prefer to visit heritage sites and the Goan tourism industry will surely benefit from it,” says Shah.

THE WAY FORWARD: Heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential in Goa, provided it's properly packaged and marketed.
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The need for heritage-oriented tourism has also been suggested by others in the industry.

Former president of TTAG, Savio Messias, says, “The government has been promising to promote heritage tourism for a long time. Heritage sites and heritage houses, as well as forts, have been promised to be renovated, but these remain mere verbal promises.”

We have been blessed with heritage, but it is not being utilised enough. If properly packaged and marketed, heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential.

President of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), Nilesh Shah

He adds that funds are not enough today to maintain heritage houses. “The government needs to create a heritage tourism policy and provide financial support for this,” Messias says.

After the liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule, it was the hippies who first came to the state, following which, Goa turned famous among foreigners.

Goa’s scenic beaches attract foreign tourists, but Central government reports now reveal a sharp decline in the number of foreign tourists visiting Goa in recent times.

THE WAY FORWARD: Heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential in Goa, provided it's properly packaged and marketed.
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Tourists are showing a preference for countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and it is time that the Goa government revise its tourism policy.

Many countries in Europe, Asia and even some states in India have adopted heritage tourism policies, and are reaping its benefits.

However, history and heritage activists have been raising their voice over the Goa government neglecting heritage monuments and sites in the state.

Tourists are showing a preference for countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and it is time that the Goa government revise its tourism policy.

Former president of TTAG, Savio Messias

“Heritage-oriented tourism is famous worldwide, but it is neglected in Goa. If the government wants high-quality tourists, this is the straight and easiest way, but the government seems to have no regard for heritage,” suggests Assistant Professor of History at Dhempe College, Panjim, Prajal Sakhardande.

Recent examples of neglect are of the Hath Katro Khambo in Old Goa and the Kadamba era ruins in Panjim.

THE WAY FORWARD: Heritage-oriented tourism has huge potential in Goa, provided it's properly packaged and marketed.
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A large number of tourists visit the World Heritage of Old Goa, but this does not appear to be leading to a heritage tourism policy by the government.

Apart from that, history activists are also expressing regret that numerous temples and heritage sites in Goa have not been utilized from the point of view of tourism.

Sakhardande says, “Heritage tourism should be given priority by including the temples and folk culture of Goa in the tourism policy.”

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