Goa is one of the most sought after Tourism destinations in the world always had very high expectations from tourists from all over the world and the highest expectation is safety, but due to several cases in the past have turned this image into negative one.
The recent case of a British national getting raped by the tourist in Canacona had brought a very bad name to the state in the international arena. This is not the only rape case involving the foreigner that took place in Goa but there are dozens of such cases that have happened in the state giving it a bad image of an unsafe place for the foreigners.
The crime events show that the female tourists are the more vulnerable to the crime in the state compared to their male counterpart.
There are two major cases of the rape and murder of a British national wherein they haven’t got justice till date. While there are cases of death of few male tourists who died under mysterious circumstances and Goa police did not manage to crack those cases till date.
There are several reasons behind the safety concerns of the tourists in the state and one of the is the powers delegated to the beach police force. Their powers are limited and they cannot arrest anyone and in case of crime they have to approach the local police.
Goa is blessed with abundance serenity and resources. The cultural mix and the vibes of this place have fascinated people around the globe. While millions of tourists flock here every year, the tourism industry has bloomed into one of the most revenue producing sector in the state.
But unfortunately, this year, Goa witnessed a downfall in the tourist footfalls. This may due to various reasons. Majority of the blame was borne by the over-pricing of the services in Goa.
According to Goa Prism, the over-pricing of accommodation and transport sectors heavily affected the tourist influx to the state. With the tourist peak season approaching, hotels and cabs tend to increase their prices, this has caused to major fall in tourist footfalls. Another reason lies at the fact that the pubs and shacks get overcrowded.
But the article also highlighted that safety and security concerns caused many tourists to rule out Goa from their list this year. Hooliganism during parties and inappropriate behaviours has served as a backlash to the reputation of Goa- as a safe destination.
There has been a rise in drug and sexual abuse in the state. The year 2018, witnessed several rape cases against women and is causing a major threat to the security of tourists.
After the alleged murder of Scarlett Keeling a few years ago, the recent rape and murder of Daniella McLaughlin, and many in between, the reputation of Goa as a safe destination has taken a hit.
Speaking on the same, the relatives of a tourist, Sanna Cutter and Minna Pirhonen address the issue. According to The Hindu, they state that “The main reason for the low tourist numbers in Goa is the rapes, murders, random killings and other crimes taking place against tourists”. In a letter to TTAG, the two women stated that the main issues are not related to high prices but are connected directly with safety, law and order issues.
The categories of the tourists visiting Goa mainly belong between the ages of 18-35, which puts them into the target. These young tourists often spend time in the remote stretches of the beach, drinking and taking drugs. They also spend the nights out and wander around. This sometimes proves to be quite dangerous.
According to Herald Goa, the president of TTAG Savio Messias, however, has a different opinion on tourist safety and security, and its impact on tourism. “These types of things (crimes against tourists) happen in other countries. But the Goa government has not made any effort in addressing the concerns of security and safety,” He continued “The beaches are patrolled by the IRBP (beach police) but they don’t have any powers to arrest anyone. They have to go to the local police and lodge a complaint.”
Security becomes a crucial necessity when visiting any place. Goa had maintained its reputation as a safe destination for tourists and especially, solo female travellers. But with these incidents coming to light, this image of Goa is dwindling.
With foreign nationals considering Goa as no safer for them, locals argue to the contrary. According to the locals, crime and abuses happen everywhere around the world and Goa is not an exception.
One should also be responsible for their safety and should not wander around carelessly in the night. Many of the deaths reported are due to natural causes of either a drug overdose, ailments or even accidents. While some are linked to rape and assaults, Police do its best to carry out investigations. According to Rediff, locals blame the clash between the cultures to be a major cause for these events.
Rodrigues Noronha, a resident of Panjim said, “There is growing intolerance towards the white woman culture in Goa. Back in the 1970s, the beaches were almost reserved for the hippies and none of the locals even bothered interfering with them. However, now the scene is different.
Most of the youngsters cannot come to terms with the fact that the white woman behaves in Goa exactly the way they would do so in their country. Hence, when these youngsters see skimpily clad women, they feel as though it is an invitation to sex.”
The foreign female tourists have witnessed several inappropriate behaviours or indecent comments aiming at their clothes. India has a traditional set-up and the society is way different. It requires certain decency from the part of tourists as well to respect by the values and abide by the norms of the state, says local Goans.
However, gaining a reputation as an unsafe destination will surely prove a detrimental outcome for the tourism sector. The government must work on addressing this issue and bringing out a solution to ensure the safety of the tourists. Proper measures must be taken to prevent these crimes and necessary steps must be adapted to deliver justice to the victims.