Canacona was supposed to be one of the major tourist hubs for the foreigners for the past few decades. The enchanting serenity and remoteness of the place always attracted the foreigners to Canacona but this year despite the peak season the areas like Palolem, Agonda, Patnem, and Colomb witnessing a huge drop in tourist inflow, is this due to the recent cases of rapes and murder of foreigners is haunting this place or is this due to the overall drop in season?

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The report published by the local daily the Navhind Times, despite the peak season in the state, the scenario appears to be a beak for the tourism industry in Canacona as the arrival of tourists, especially foreigners remained much below the expectation.

Canacona in south Goa picked up the business following the commercialization of the north Goa beach belts, especially Calangute, Candolim, Morjim and Ashwem. The English tourists don’t go to Morjim and Ashwem due to the concentration of Russian tourists in that area while most of the foreigners prefer to live in a calm and serene ambiance which is completely lost in Calangute and Candolim.

Crowded Calangute beach never been a primary choice of foreigners

Following the increase in the flow of Indian tourists to most famous Calangute beach, the foreigners decided to switch to less crowded places and their first choice was South Goa and in south Goa Palolem, Patnem and Agonda were considered to be most safe virgin beaches until lately, various criminal activities had started raising its head in these locations.

The cases of Rape and Murder had lead to give a bad name to this place and foreigners decided to stay away from this place which once considered a haven. “Canacona had been a favorite destination of chartered tourists and at the end of November, the coastal belt of the taluka would be bustling with tourism activities with stakeholders trying to make the most out of the season,” claimed the report.

Now we have reached in the middle of December and yet there is no visible improvement in the arrival “The fall is very drastic as much as 60 percent in the coastal belt of Canacona,” informed the businessmen involved in the tourism industry.
Agonda, Palolem, Patnem, Colomb in Canacona play host to thousands of tourists who descend on the Goan white sands every year. Hotels, shack owners, homestays, taxi owners, handicrafts, rural tourism promoters amongst others have been economically affected this year.

Palolem Beach is Isolated from all the hustle bustle of commercialised Goa

One of the residents who had entered into the business of renting out the rooms looking at the lucrativeness of business said that Canacona had been attracting foreign tourists due to the hospitality offered, clean beaches and reasonable prices.

“We had regular guests visiting us annually and they would stay at different locations in Canacona for more than 15 days and some even for months, but this year the scene in coastal areas is entirely different,” said Joseph Coutinho, who rents out the rooms and his entirely dependent on this business.

The fall in tourism not only affected the small businesses or room let out services but it also posed the challenge before people who engaged in the business of Homestay tourism for their livelihood. Homestay is a new concept and some of the large players have invested in this concept. But due to the fall in tourist flow, most of the rooms which are usually rented out in Patnem and Colomb has remained vacant.

Though domestic tourists are visiting the Canacona coast, tourism stakeholders say that most tourists from neighboring states stay for a maximum of two nights and usually come with their transport. Hotels are booked to stay mostly only for the weekends.

Beaches like Ashwem and Morjim are filled with Russians

The most affected people are the ones who have shifted their profession from farming to tourism thinking that the later business is more lucrative are now with the drop in the tourism sector all does not seem to be working well for the people of Canacona.

Many believe that poor marketing strategy and safety of women travelers’ issues have caused a drop in tourists. Stakeholders fear that the decline of tourists in Goa will get worse if corrective measures are not taken by the Goa Tourism Department as tourism is the only industry that is responsible for the livelihood of Goans after the closure of the mining industry.

The Source: NT

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