In the past few years, the tourism has been constantly on the decline in the state of Goa, especially those high spending tourists, have suddenly seemed to be disappeared from the scene, and they are replaced by the cheap and bargaining tourists. Goa’s economy and businesses are mainly dependent on the tourism industry and following the closure of Mining business in the state that is the only source of income remains for the state government locals alike. Goa lost the high spending tourists which made a lot of difference to the dream of every tourist. why tourism is scaling down in the state? The reason is the existence of a Travel Related Disease that is creating a threat to the tourism industry of Goa…
Goa is known as the Sunshine State, what with its lovely pristine beaches, scenic fields and beautiful architecture, makes it the ideal place for a holiday. Known as an international tourism destination, Goa receives hordes of tourists throughout the year, both domestic and international. Off late though, the quality of tourists with higher spending capacities is decreasing. After mining was banned Goa depends primarily on tourism.
In the past couple of years, Tourism in the State has grown in leaps and bounds. Major hospitality chains, as well as specialty hospitals, have made a beeline for the State, each wanting a chunk of the tourism pie. While many of these hotels offer fancy amenities like Jacuzzis, lagoons, swimming pools, and splash pools in guest rooms, water bodies with rock gardens, these features are never maintained with adequate treatment to prevent contamination.
The water bodies in 5-star hotels have revealed that they are contaminated with dirt, slime, moss, toxin-producing algae growth, pathogenic bacteria, fungi involving skin infections, all due to inadequate water treatment and erratic cleaning schedules.
Many Goans are not aware that today Goa is considered as “unsafe and keep away” destination for luxury and high spending tourists. Many visitors often go back from their visit and soon come down with malaria, dengue, infections, and allergies.
Thus the name of Goa, as an international tourist destination is getting decimated, one of the reasons being the deterioration of Water hygiene and subsequent travel-related diseases. To add to the tourism woes there is the problem of untreated garbage near luxury hotels. People of Goa are totally unaware of the fact that Legionnaire Disease is one of the key factors responsible for the destruction of tourism in Goa.
As per reports, Legionnaires disease, a deadly form of pneumonia, has been on the rise in starred hotels in Goa. In the past few years, the number of tourists being affected is steadily growing. In 2018-19 there were 7 cases of reported tourists in Goa, contracting this disease. This disease is a bacterial infection of the lungs that develops into pneumonia. Most people become infected by inhaling small droplets of contaminated water suspended in the air. The symptoms are a headache, muscle ache, dry cough, fever and shortness of breath. Sometimes diarrhea occurs further weakening the patient.
Some of these affected tourists have claimed damages to the tune of 70 lakh individually, alleging the violation of “Standard of Care” and “Deficiency of Service” by the hotels.
It’s pertinent to note that while 20 crores were reportedly spent by the Tourism Ministry over jaunts and entertainment for ministers and bureaucrats, along with their families, in the tourism sector, nothing has been done to improve the infrastructure.
Today Goa is literally sitting on a “Garbage bomb” which is ticking at a very rapid pace. River Mandovi itself is heavily polluted with high levels of organic compounds, sewage discharge, heavy metals, etc. If one were to subject our local catch to quality assurance, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to detect heavy metals, pesticides, oils, and bacteria, in them.
As citizens of the State, I am sure we find it suffocating and uneasy to walk about in the capital city itself, imagine the state of these visiting tourists.
Mass cancellations of Charters, blacklisting of specific hotels by globally reputed charter companies, has led to a downfall in the quality of tourists. This bad publicity does not bode well for the Tourism Industry in the State which is already under heavy pressure from places like Kerala, Sri Lanka, and many southeast Asian Countries.
This is a wakeup call to all the concerned authorities in the Tourism Industry to get their act together before it is too late.
Note: The Original Story is written by Mr. Joe D’Souza, who is an Environmental Activist, it was first published in the Herald Goa