Goa though being the smallest state in India is known as an international tourist destination, thanks to its golden beaches, tranquil fields, and religious and heritage structures. A proper cost-benefit analysis of tourism needs to be done. As per the annual report of the Union Ministry of Tourism, Goa accounts for less than 10% of the foreign tourist inflow into the country.
Off late though, Goa has come under the dark shadow of drug cartels. Right up from the coastal belt to the hinterlands, the narcotics trade is flourishing. The biggest priority of the State Government should be the elimination of drugs and narcotics from the State. Drug abuse which was once associated with adults now has teenagers and a growing number of school children addicted to various narcotics.
An NGO, Kripa Foundation, working in the field of de-addiction in India, states that several young people have died of a drug overdose in Goa.
Apparently, it was the hippies who came here from the West in the 60s and 70s left the impression that Goa is an easy place for drugs. Sources at the TOI state that in the northern coastal belt, drug dealers of different nationalities; settle in different villages just to control the drug trade. Vagator is the haunt of the Israelis, while Morjim is controlled by the Russians and the Nigerians have staked a claim to Candolim and Calangute.
Tourism in Goa was adopted as a key sector for Goa’s development mainly due to its potential to generate employment what with having an educated workforce but limited industrial growth.
The rate at which tourism is growing in Goa, can e termed as unsustainable. The term sustainable development was popularized in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. Sustainable development simply means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.
The report of the commission, Our Common Future, identified three fundamental elements of sustainable development which are economic, environmental and social. Economic sustainability consists in maintaining growth rate at manageable levels to avoid consumer dissatisfaction, social sustainability refers to society’s ability to absorb tourist arrivals without compromising the local well being and values system and environment sustainability relates to the capacity of the environment to handle tourism without damage.
Goa should be prepared for the fact that tourist is always on the lookout for new destinations. The Government of Goa should develop a strategy wherein the people will be less dependent on tourism and focus on other ways and means of generating an income.
In view of the high literacy rate in the State, Information Technology organizations and institutions will be the best bet for the youth of Goa. Information Technology requires smart work, and its industries like these that are based on knowledge and skill, which continue to grow in the years to come.