Livin' on the edge/You can't help yourself from fallin'/Livin' on the edge/You can't help yourself at all/Livin' on the edge/You can't stop yourself from fallin'/Livin' on the edge (everybody, everybody)/
These are some of the lines from a song by the popular American rock band, Aerosmith that kind of epitomises the present-day situation in Goa.
Yes, we are living on the edge. If one attempts to ponder over the two incidents that took place last week – one in which a female tourist was seen brandishing her footwear at a security guard and hitting him with it in the religious precincts of Old Goa, and another in Anjuna, where some tourists were attacked by Goans.
In the first incident at Old Goa, even if the tourist had a valid grouse, there were better ways to handle the situation than picking up footwear to hit the man. That is so unbecoming of a woman.
In the second incident, in Anjuna, some of the news reports point to the fact that the resort staff and superiors could have handled the situation in a far better manner. But that never happened, and the attack went on to make headlines.
Goa is seeing a rise in the number of domestic tourists as also an increase in the number of rent-a-cab and yellow and black number-plated two-wheelers on the state's roads.
Mobile-brandishing tourists, who come on weekend visits, want to see and do a lot in a short time, and when things don't pan out as planned, they run roughshod.
Goans, irrespective of their religious affiliation, reacted angrily over the Old Goa incident. Locals in some of the coastal belt areas like Calangute and Colva are feeling the heat of ‘over-tourism’ that in the long run will prove detrimental. Goa cannot afford to have unruly tourists in places of religious importance.
The tourists' fetish for Goa will gradually turn fatal for the state if negative incidents like the ones above continue to make headlines. In the age of social media and viral videos, it is very difficult to bury negative incidents under the carpet.
If such incidents keep happening and if these are not controlled, Goa's tourism image will witness more of these transgressions. Locals will be driven to a point where they will take matters into their own hands and say, 'Tourists go back home, leave us in peace.'
From the hippie tourism of the 70s to the present-day tourists, there is a sea change. It's time there are regulations in this sector for better control of footfall.
For many of the domestic tourists who come here, Goa seems to have become synonymous with beach parties where open drinking, which is not allowed, is the norm.
While tourists on beaches are seen openly violating the no-drinking law, the so-called tourist police are nowhere to be seen. It is high time violators are caught and fined on the spot.
The authorities have to show some resolve and act or else the message that goes back is Goa mein sab kuch chalta hai (One can do anything in Goa)’.
One of the major reasons for incidents like the ones that happened in Anjuna and Old Goa is the increasing tourist numbers, which at some point will lead to discontent between local people and tourists. Stakeholders need to come to a common table and put in place codes of conduct for tourists to follow.
The government, which is responsible for tourism planning, has to seriously look into the state's carrying capacity and ensure locals do not have to face the unjust or just ire of the tourists.
The authorities should come out with flyers explaining to tourists that their unruly behaviour can inconvenience locals. No doubt, tourists come and spend their money here, but their trip can't be an excuse to step outside the social norms of the place.
It is now time for the government to admit that the state's tourism is devoid of any direction and take responsibility, or else the short-term negative impact will result in a long-term loss in tourism.