Go Goa – only if you are upmarket and family

August 26, 2008

GoaGoa, long a magnet for partying hippies, penurious college students and planeloads of foreign pensioners, now wants only “upmarket and responsible family tourists”, the Economic Times has quoted the state church as saying.

In a bid to restore some of the shine lost in the Scarlett Keeling case, the Goa church, which apparently plays a key role in the state’s politics, now wants to focus on family tourists who won’t bring further disrepute to the state that has had its name tarnished not just by the media glare on the booze and drug parties on its famous beaches, but also by violent protests against industrial development.

A family-focussed tourism policy will help attract more “upmarket, high spending” tourists, whose shorter visits will contribute more to the state, the Centre for Responsible Tourism was quoted as saying.

And just how will they ensure that a) you are upmarket and b) you are family? Will tourists now be required to carry bank and credit card statements alongwith their sunscreen and shades? Perhaps marriage certificates, as well, packed between the t-shirts?

Well done, Goa, for showing we’ve come a long way since clubs and restaurants barred entry to Indians and dogs.

Ironically, the government and corporates have, in recent years, encouraged middle-class Indians to travel more, with sops in the form of discount airlines and budget hotels. 

They have even made noises about the fortune waiting to be tapped at the bottom of the pyramid. That is all just talk, apparently.

But Goa – which launched a cheerful ad campaign recently urging everyone to “go Goa” – is not alone.

Years ago, when a fancy mall opened in south Mumbai, entry was restricted to those with credit cards. The mall defended its action on the grounds that hordes of gawkers were getting in the way of “genuine” shoppers. Newspapers raised a stink and the practice died a quiet death, much like the mall itself, eventually.

More recently, a leading newspaper did a random survey of some of Mumbai’s top restaurants and bars to check their bias for foreigners. The conclusion: most of them preferred foreigners because they believed they spent more money, tipped more generously and behaved better than Indians.

And apartment complexes blatantly ban single people, people with dogs, people who eat meat and people of different religious convictions from renting in their buildings.

There’s no holding back the glee when an Indian company buys yet another British firm, no mitigating the indignation when a British TV show contestant is accused of racist comments against an Indian.

Sadly, there’s not a whimper when it comes to our own biases, it seems.


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What about the Mafia and police corruption ? will Goa finally take action so tha up market tourists are safe ? I don’t believe Goa will improve until we see a whole lot of change …besides Scarlett was from an up market family …private school etc she was just a girl on a family holiday what difference will anything make with the corruption and brutality , her killers are still free I believe

Posted by smita | Report as abusive

You are commenting on Goa! However the awful problem the whole of India has, is its lack of infrastructure and worst of all, its non-existant sanitation! I am a Goan, living in Europe visiting India every year. The huge number of Indians from other parts, going to work in Goa every season, is phenomenal, bringing with them added problems, trying to sell drugs to tourists, trying to make money, etc. without any thought of repurcussions after they leave to go home during monsoon and off-season. While they are in Goa, they are getting away with murder, they treat the whole of it as open-air toilet, sleeping anywhere, taking liberties and becoming opportunists, flounting the rules and promoting corruption.All this going on is overlooked, and isn’t just Goa’s responsibility, it is the Government of India’s job to make sure regulations are upheld and monitored. The Indian workers pouring in, mainly Hindus and Kashmiris, are the main culprits spoiling Goa and responsible for what is going on there today, and NOT the tourists!!Get your act going INDIA, It’s high time! Make the changes and you will get decent tourists. Over to YOU.S.D.

Posted by Salome DeCruz | Report as abusive

Better class of tourist? What are you talking about? Goa is a filthy cesspit, no better class Brit’ would ever book a holiday in Goa!Only hardened Yorkshire folk and the like would ever dare set foot on Goan soil for fear of infection and disease.Towns boast open sewers, spreading desease along with the eternal garbage dumped everywhere. The same sewers pump into the so-called beautiful Arabian Sea, causing still more illness, surpassed only by the endless food poisoning caused because no one in the catering industry has any hygiene education: I regularly see restaurant staff cleaning tables with cloths you wouldn’t use to clean a toilet (although they probably have).No Goa; be grateful for us dregs of British society that you can con’ into spending our cash with you. It’s the best you’ll get, believe me.

Posted by rupert smedley | Report as abusive

Just one question to the government of Goa. Do you think that up market families behaves in a better and decent way?? What do you think about Jessica Lal, Pridarshani Muttu, Nitish Katara murder cases and the famous BMW case….??? The culprit were from which class of family??/

Posted by Akhilesh Shukla | Report as abusive

Alright we Indians recognize our shortcomings, that all said and done Incredible India is not probably the safest place to visit, stakeholders of the society do make juvenile statements (without thinking much about it at times )..but that dsnt mean that we dont deserve high net worth individuals.Hygeine? Well how healthy are Brits anyway, who regularly eat at up market restaurants in London (most of them owned and managed by Indians). Well shacks add to teh charm of goan city.India still is a very hospitable country ( and I m saying this because I recently visited Bangkok, couldnt believe that city survives on tourism, has many rude ppl. What was shocking that the Thailand Tourism Board (TAT)official who was travelling with us , since it was a media trip, was not just rude, but had an attitude that the country is obliging tourists so they better behave themselves and ignore her misbehaviour. But kudos to Indian journalists as we still bid a warm adieu to her :)Coming back to the point,sewers are nothing, its slum tourism is whats attracting the neo age richie rich of Britain to India.And the who s swho of Britain have visted teh country. The beauty of the country lies in the fact, that we offer it all,palatial hotels, budget apartmnets, forts, beaches, expensive restaurants and radside (or rather beach side shacks) too, similarly Goa has something for everyone.

Posted by Vishakha Talreja | Report as abusive

Whoever came up with this nonsense must be delusional and out of touch with reality.What sane tourist, whether upmarket or not, would willing come to this foul smelling, garbage ridden and malaria infested dump?Goa needs to spend some significant money on providing a decent infrastructure and not use it to line certain people pockets. Only if this happens can there be any hope of attracting the kind of people Goa seems to think it wants.

Posted by Hilary Hawes | Report as abusive

ver fantasty

Posted by Md Zahangir Alam | Report as abusive

Had been to Goa beginning this month, after a gap of four years, and must say I was totally saddened. The green cover is fast receding. All over hills are being cut, fields levelled, and ugly compound housing blocks being constructed – single owned villas seem to be passe. With basic infrastructure support being absolutely non-existent, there are proportionately more signboards (than housing blocks) pleading ” Please do not dispose off your Garbage here” being put up by the original local residents, around and in their neighbourhoods.The Birla Nagar area on the way to the airport is an eyesore. If not checked, this is soon another ‘Dharavi’ in the making. How polluted is the Zuari river by this big industrial giant and its ancillaries, employing more migrant, than local, labour for sure, is anybody’s guess ??As a local single taxi owner/driver put it very poignantly “We are fed up with migrants and desperate foreigners buying property in Goa”As rightly said Goa, Going, Gone !!!!! This sad state of affairs is mainly thanks to the greedy bunch of politicians, who have no second thoughts about selling Goa to satisfy their own selfish interests.

Posted by Stephen Dcruz | Report as abusive

Hi i agree with the Rina Chandran comments very truebut i do want to tell Salome DeCruz to stop behaving like a cheap indian biasing mentality on the casteIf a person is bad he is so and you cant tell that some caste people has a problemAnd when there is demand you get a supplyso when tourists asks for drugs people give them for sheer moneyAnd if it were not drups so mant cheap foreign tourist would never have been there caus there are only there for drugs and booze

Posted by azlan | Report as abusive

goais best place to travel in india. i just love its beaches and locality.

Posted by Alberto | Report as abusive

Trying to keep out the ‘hippy element’ from Goa(particularly Northern Goa) would result in financialcollapse. The truth is that the so called ‘up market’tourists wouldn’t spend a single day in most of theaccommodation available in Goa. Sure, there are ‘quite’nice hotels here and there but I echo the above words ofRupert Smedley. People like us ‘hippy types’ (although myhair end is short, my manners impeccable, and my charasintake substantial) tend to stay much longer than youraverage software engineer on a two week sojourn to SouthGoa and contribute far more to the local economy. Please come to your senses, Goa.

Posted by Stewart | Report as abusive

Goa need good law enforment authorities. Tourist are not the real problem, coz you cannot filter them by rich, poor, anti social etc. best example is saudi arabia. they never stop anyone comming to thier country but once there obey thier rules. so if Goa do not like the way people of the world behave, simple stick to laws of your Land. insted of geting bribe by law breaker and then complaing…………… Elect and Have miniter who play a good Role model to other, what will you expect with looter on cash counter?

Posted by Candick Dave | Report as abusive