We normally blame the outsiders, especially the Indian tourists coming to Goa considering it an invasion of outsiders into our state. We do not want to comment on how justified that is, but this story will change the entire perspective of Goan people. This story is written by of one of the businessmen Mr. Prashanth Rao Aroor from Maharashtra, who owns the chain of hotels in Mumbai and it his first-hand experience while his stay in Goa.

A trip to Goa is a dream come true for the tourists. But sometimes all that glitters is not gold. Many times the local Goans are the main reason to spoil the image of Goa by giving out a bad experience to the tourists.

Recently a family from Mumbai who visited Goa had a disturbing experience and they pleaded to the Government of Goa and the Tourism Department to pay attention to a particular issue which might later become a real deal breaker for the state. What was that entire experience all about? Read the experience, right from the horse’s mouth. 

Recently, my family decided to take a vacation in Goa. A huge bunch of about 18 people, we booked ourselves at Candolim at an upscale hotel owned by a well-known national chain. Meanwhile, a friend called and asked me as a favour to visit a few boutique hotels she owned for my views, and said she would send me her ‘Private’ car to shuttle me around to all her hotels for a visit.

So the following morning, true to her word, her driver and car were at the hotel in Candolim at the designated time. My wife, my cousin, who is an architect, and I walked out of the gate and boarded the car. As we were backing out, a bunch of taxi drivers who were lounging outside the gate walked up to the driver and asked him menacingly, “Do you not know you are not allowed to pick up people from here?”

THE DECLINE IN TOURISTS INFLOW IN THE STATE DUE TO VARIOUS REASONS

I told the taxi man in question that it was my friend’s private car and that it had been sent to pick me up. He immediately responded with confidence, “I don’t care if it’s your brother’s car. You can’t use it. You have to take a taxi from us.”

By this time, my sense of justice and fair play was working up but because I didn’t want trouble for my friend. I said, “Alright. Next time we will take your car but this car is here. Let us go. There are ladies in the car and your behaviour is disturbing.” Then he got aggressive. He said, “Do what you can. Call the police. There is no way we are letting this car move.”

In order to avoid a full altercation I told the driver to go back and decided to walk some distance and then take another taxi as there was no way, we were travelling with these goons. I assumed if my friend’s car did not pick anyone up, then no ‘crime’ had been committed and it could leave without any further drama.

We did just that and once I got to my friend’s hotel, I checked on the status of the car and the manager told me that it had been commandeered and taken to Goa Police for ‘breaking the law’. I was shocked. Shortly after that, I got a call from the local police control room confirming my name and number and asking me why I was creating trouble for the taxi people and what business I had in Goa.

I explained to him that it was a personal vehicle belonging to my friend and asked which law prevented me from being driven in it. He sidetracked and spoke about who I was and what I was doing there and hung up. If it were not for family with me, I would have gone to the station and tested their theory.

I forgot about the whole incident. Recently, I was in Goa again and met the same friend who told me that the car was with the cops in Panaji for two days and that she had to pay a fine to release it. This really rankled me. Now I feel it must go through the full test of the law. It is a huge danger to the tourism industry as a whole. Taxi unions have been progressively getting more aggressive and will soon hold the state and industry to ransom.

I hope the powers that be and the legal-minded among us share your views on my position on this and what should be done about it. Goa’s government is busy expanding the bandwidth of air seats to Goa and new tourism-oriented projects are coming up. Road infrastructure is catching up. This one cancer has the danger of disturbing the peace and ease of tourism here causing long-term damage to the state.

In the interest of Goa tourism, and brand India, and as a person with deep-rooted emotional and career investment in hospitality and tourism, I plead with the government of Goa, the tourism department and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to pay attention to this before it becomes a real deal breaker for the state.

The author is the MD and CEO of a well-known hotel chain based in Mumbai.

SOURCE | IMAGE SOURCE

16 COMMENTS

  1. I sincerely hope. Mr. Prashanth Rao Aroor, your mail reaches the powers that be. It’s a crying shame what’s happening to our Goa. It would be great if they could introduce Uber and Ola…this would teach these taxi drivers a good lesson.

    • Implementation of UBER and OLA is next to impossible in Goa unless the government that comes next in the power does something about it.

    • I had similar experience in Pune. I had to walk a mile to catch an Ola as Ola driver refused to fetch me from the street across a well known hospital of Pune. The driver told I can not come to that street as driver’s parking their car won’t allow me to fetch you from there. Drivers at designated parking were asking for almost triple the fare. I was in hurry as my train was on time and I had only half hour to reach the station. Luckily, I got the train but did not have a time to buy tickets, I boarded the train and paid fine to TC. If I had wasted my time standing in long queue and buying tickets I would have missed my train, which was the last one to my destination on that evening.

  2. Implementation of UBER and OLA is next to impossible in Goa unless the government that comes next in the power does something about it.

  3. Well the reason why the policeman instead of scolding the taxi guy called Mr. Prashant is simple. Most of the taxis are owned by policemen in the name of their wife,mother,father etc. The drivers are just on hire. Its similar to how sand mafia in Goa works. Most sand is extracted and transported under protection from policemen. That does not mean the local MLA has no role. He gets his cut from the policemen. The policemen will protect his income so he wont act against the erring taxi driver. And the MLA will loose his cut and vote bank if he passes a law to end this extortion. So everyone makes money on tourists behalf.

  4. i’m sorry for you all, truly I am. I am a past tourist that had been coming to goa for over 20 years. I no longer visit. the reasons are simple. myself and many many more, have given up on visiting goa because of what’s been said for many years, and been ignored. the rising crime, the filthy garbage, the broken glass on the beaches, the rip off and argumentative taxi drivers, and the corruption that stops things being done to rectify the problems. we have met some lovely people from goa and as you call them, outsiders. I have read on various websites about the decline in tourist in goa, and am not surprised. you haven’t just killed your golden goose, you have cooked and eaten it. the world is a big place. we are not restricted to just holidaying in goa.

  5. The fact of the matter is that Goans hate foreigners(Anyone from out of Goa, not necassarily Europeans or Americans).Goans only want their money and they do not want to work.Every Indian has a right to travel/work freely in any part of India but these Goans dont like that becoz outsiders work 10-12 hours a day.Any shop or business owned by a goan will close between 1 pm and 4pm,but outsiders work even on holidays.Plain fact Goans are lazyyyyyy and clannish

  6. We the people of Goa are not lazy as you termed it, true we have our own set of problems but wasnt this the charm of Goa that everyone loved, the fact that we are closed between 1 and 4 was a fact, we are a people that love our siesta time that doesnt mean we are lazy. True the taxi drivers are getting aggresive at the hotels and thats probably because the hotels have acknowleged them in the first place. No one wants to see their business walking away.. I see the situation that is talked about in this article it is indeed frightening .. but Goa is changing and this time for the better, you might not see it in the coastal belt but its happening in the villages and whats happening in the villages will eventually spill into the coastal belt also. I hope you have a chance of seeing it before you return to whence you came from.

  7. Hurray, at last someone wrote about it,
    All previous publications about the absence of tourists in Goa blamed local tourists or long-stayers and music lovers.
    Besides aggressive taxi-mafia, the Goan government threw up a police mafia on the roads that collects baksheesh at every turn, arranged unwarranted raids on the best restaurants in Goa and forbidden to drink a bottle of beer on the beach, which, again, turned into police officers who pester tourists and collect baksheesh, this is full balagan indian style 🙂
    Goa became big jail in this way, this seasone many of my friends choose Thailand – it’s cleaner, cheaper, better service and houses and no stupid rules.
    Ban the music, chase away all the hippies, add even more police and fines and you will get absolutely empty beaches next season, for sure.

    Mr. Gandhi would be very upset by such a short-sighted policy.
    These idiots do not see and do not want to see the real roots of their problems.

  8. I too agree with the post, As we are a group of college friends who meet up every year and Goa WAS our favorite destination, but unfortunately with our latest experience, we have decided not to go to Goa anymore. Unless the local Taxi drivers/ Agents and other people change their attitude, this place would suffer and the image is being tarnished big time. Its a systematic loot when you are their as a tourist and I must say Its not prevalent throughout Goa, its only in the tourist areas.

  9. Sorry to have to go back to around 1946/47. I had travelled from boarding school in Bombay to Goa by train. Got into an over-crowded bus to Mapusa. From Mapusa I was told to take a ‘private’ taxi to Marna, Siolim, which I did. I got into the taxi with may suitcase and waited. In the meantime the taxi driver/owner was outside the cab yelling Siolim, Siolim. An hour or so later we took off with a dozen ‘guests’ in the taxi. The taxi driver, on being questioned, claimed that they were his ‘friends’ and he was giving them a lift! On the return journey I was lucky to catch a bus from Mapusa to Collem on top of the bus. Nearing a police station, excess passengers had to alight, walk around the station are rejoin the bus. So please don’t tell me about hard working, honest Goan taxi drivers. Space and time do not permit me to give you more details of experiences over the years. I am more or less house-bound now and enjoy not having to deal with taxis, happily only infrequently.

  10. So so sad.
    I have holidayed in Wonderful Goa for over 25 years. Alas it’s quite true what has been written here.
    Taxi drivers are lazy greedy bullies. That’s a strong statement but in my experience true. My last holidays in Goa I have restricted my movements to walkable or busable destinations. I just can’t put up with the constant hassle taxi drivers give. I find their attitude and prices an insult on my intelligence. If they lowered their prices and improved their customer skills they could work all day and make more money. But no they sit around waiting for a victim . And that’s what taxi users are…victims.
    I’m sad to say that generally Goans are greedy and some dangerous. Tourism has made them wealthy but they are still looking for more.
    Police are a joke.
    Government are a joke.
    Is there anyone honest any more?

    Sadly after so many wonderful holidays I am abandoning Goa and spending my money in other countries.

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