The hippies have moved on and so must Goa

Before greed took over, respect, simplicity were the rocks on which the tourism foundation was laid; we need to return to them
EVERYONE'S WELCOME: Goa is a place for all, and not just hippies, charter tourists or Indians.
EVERYONE'S WELCOME: Goa is a place for all, and not just hippies, charter tourists or Indians.Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Tourism has been tattooed on Goa, and as long as the going is good, it will be admired, cherished and perhaps, in some cases, even looked at with contempt, depending always on the eye of the beholder, with the tourist being the ultimate judge.

Tourists are, in many ways, explorers or discoverers of identity, of people and places with the ultimate aim of having a nice time, away from the humdrum of work or daily chores. For them, it is a break from the routine.

EVERYONE'S WELCOME: Goa is a place for all, and not just hippies, charter tourists or Indians.
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Tourism starts as an impromptu act and is subsequently laced and choreographed by stakeholders to add glamour or lustre and in the end, to extract the extra pound.

Hence we have, tours, visits to places we think should be seen, meals we think they should eat, culture we think they should experience, and when it gets more infected, even what they should buy and not.

It’s all about commission, baba!

Tourism has been tattooed on Goa, and as long as the going is good, it will be admired, cherished and perhaps, in some cases, even looked at with contempt, depending always on the eye of the beholder, with the tourist being the ultimate judge.

When an industry gets into package mode, despite it being good for some, it robs the essence from the industry because then, exploration is limited and with that, much of the thrill is lost.

Tourism must have signposts, but those should be advisory and not compulsorily shoved down the throat of the visitor; a human cut short of choice loses humanness and thereon happiness.

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Goa was a heaven, or was called one when the first tourist stepped in, because they came not only to explore the land, but to be themselves and they called themselves 'hippies'.

The hippie concept was not started in Goa, but one that moved around the world before finding not just the place, but the people, of the right stuff which would allow them to experiment with themselves without disturbing the structure of their hosts.

The hippie concept was not started in Goa, but one that moved around the world before finding not just the place, but the people, of the right stuff which would allow them to experiment with themselves without disturbing the structure of their hosts.

In the process, they shared small lessons in cleanliness, mannerisms and imbibed local lifestyles. Locals and hippies co-existed happily because society was at its jazzy best. Cultures intertwined seamlessly with seamless give and take.

The beginning was the time when the end was inconceivable because the hippies knew how to respect and how to earn it back. Respect was the rock on which the foundation of tourism was laid.

But soon, greed took over and the Blue pill was overtaken by the M pill and through time, those who sold their inheritance and everything that was Goan, ended up without a soul, and the industry is feeling its being tread on – at least the people are.

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Goa has reached a stage that many believe is the beginning of the end of the industry. Those believers are wrong, because tourism is at a stage where the stakeholders are beginning to realise that the cauldron has place for all, and no room for selectiveness.

People have different needs and they cannot be expected to change them when on a break from routine, though they could be amenable and the same is the case with the hosts.

Change is inevitable, and change is best understood when it is accepted as a part of life. We had a beautiful time when the hippies were here because we accepted them and vice versa.

The hippies have moved on and will keep moving on, and so must Goa. And, that does not entail that we keep pace with the hippies but treasure the good and perhaps share what they left behind.

They were here and had a good time because of what we were. We adapted then, we can continue doing so as long as the basics are not transgressed upon. And, the basic was our simplicity.

EVERYONE'S WELCOME: Goa is a place for all, and not just hippies, charter tourists or Indians.
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For the tourist coming to Goa today, simplicity could be a way of life but not a reason to opt as a destination because simplicity is simply getting eroded and to change that, we will need to change again.

Goa is a place not just for hippies, charter tourists, FITs or Indians, but for all, if we do not forget the premise on which the foundation has been laid – respect.

Perhaps then, simplicity will flow ceaselessly and the desires to get rid of the tattoo disappear.

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