Why do our coastal neighbours flock to Goa?

Although Karnataka and Maharashtra boast the same shoreline, Goa's distinctive allure captivates tourists from these adjacent states
WHAT MAKES GOA SPECIAL: Goa's unmatched vibe, cultural richness, and thriving tourism industry make it a much-preferred destination.
WHAT MAKES GOA SPECIAL: Goa's unmatched vibe, cultural richness, and thriving tourism industry make it a much-preferred destination. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Over the years, Goa has effectively leveraged its culture and tourism appeals to draw domestic tourists from familiar coastal destinations, emerging as a preferred choice.

Consider Goa's immediate neighbouring states — Karnataka and Maharashtra. If you've glanced at the map of the Konkan coast, you'd note we share the same Arabian Sea to the west and the lush Western Ghats to the east with these two neighbours of ours.

ALONG THE WESTERN GHATS: The Western Ghats showcase diverse flora and fauna, enhancing the natural beauty of the state.
ALONG THE WESTERN GHATS: The Western Ghats showcase diverse flora and fauna, enhancing the natural beauty of the state.Photo: Rohan Fernandes

While it is assumed the grass is always greener on the other side, people from these two states make a beeline to Goa for tourism, work, casinos, and parties, and some even call it their home.

In recent times, there's been much talk about domestic tourists and their desire for experiential tourism in Goa. This begs the question: What is it so unique about Goa that resonates with these tourists?

WHAT MAKES GOA SPECIAL: Goa's unmatched vibe, cultural richness, and thriving tourism industry make it a much-preferred destination.
To experience Goa, be a traveller not a tourist

Last Sunday, I decided to take my typical Sunday stroll along one of South Goa's tranquil beaches. Despite the rain pausing for a few hours, my weather app warned, 'Rain at 7 pm.' Undeterred, I headed to the beach, greeted as usual by lines of cars — mostly bearing KA and MA number plates, our beloved neighbours from across the border.

I parked my bike and simply muttered to my friend, ‘Avois, aizui sogle tourist mure’ (Oh god, today also tourists). To that, without any hesitation, my friend replied, “They just come to chill here and do things they wouldn't do back home.”

GOA'S BEACHES: Goa features an impressive array of stunning shorelines that attracts tourist from different parts of the world.
GOA'S BEACHES: Goa features an impressive array of stunning shorelines that attracts tourist from different parts of the world. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

As I strolled along the sandy shore, I found myself contemplating the intriguing transformation that seemed to come over tourists when they set foot in Goa. It was as if the laid-back atmosphere and vibrant energy of the place had a magical effect on them, bringing out a different side to their personalities. 

As I strolled a bit farther, I couldn't help but notice that some women were giving me intense glances, their eyes seeming to linger on me for just a wee bit longer than usual. It is probably because I wore a simple short-sleeved tee, while they were draped in elegant sarees.

It struck me then that their gaze wasn't about my attire or theirs but about the freedom each of us embraces — unfettered or bound by conventions. It's something women intuitively understand — the unspoken language of choice and liberation reflected in how we carry ourselves.

UNIQUENESS OF GOA: Its people and culture are what makes Goa unique.
UNIQUENESS OF GOA: Its people and culture are what makes Goa unique.Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Goa's laid-back atmosphere plays a significant role in this dynamic — a place where attire choices and social interactions are embraced with ease. In this sanctuary away from judgmental stares and bustling crowds, Goans effortlessly convey a sense of comfort and acceptance.

It's this essence that draws people back to this sunny State time and again. Is Goa's allure providing visitors with a sense of permission to be themselves? And, how is this tiny state, despite all odds, still a safe haven of tranquility and peace to many?

WHAT MAKES GOA SPECIAL: Goa's unmatched vibe, cultural richness, and thriving tourism industry make it a much-preferred destination.
Not just party, in Goa also discover yourself

At the same time, while there is much discussion about how Goa's uniqueness attracts domestic tourists, we must also understand we are unique as a State, having marketed ourselves very well. People not only see Goa as a place to be themselves but also take pride in saying, ‘Hum Goa Gaye Te’ (We went to Goa), considering it a badge of honour.

This proves that despite the revenue and tourism boost, Goa stands out, but it still has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to its offerings ranging from getaways, vacations, travel goals, relaxation, family trips, and much more.

WHAT MAKES GOA SPECIAL: Goa's unmatched vibe, cultural richness, and thriving tourism industry make it a much-preferred destination.
How St Estevam in Goa can make you fall in love with the place

Therefore, when considering the similar specialties and offerings of the Konkan coast, our neighbours need to harness and make their people realise that similar joys can be enjoyed in their own backyard. Goa does this effectively, and as a result, local tourists eagerly return to experience it again and again, answering the question ‘Goa mhe kya hai’ (What is there in Goa).

While tourists and tourism are good, Goa needs to ponder if this is something it currently needs or if there's a need to change course.

Considering this boom in tourism, Goa cannot ignore the inevitable losses. If Goa's tourism is at the receiving end, it is now the time to act. 

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