Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goa Tourism In India Backpackers Guide

Most of the tourism in Goa is concentrated in the coastal stretches of Bardez, Salcete, Tiswadi and Marmagao. Over 90 percent of domestic tourists and over 99 percent of the international tourists frequent these areas. Consequently, beach tourism is the only type that is avidly encouraged by policymakers and other concerned parties alike. Goa is visited by two types of tourists with distinct needs which this state satisfies. The first is the domestic tourists, who comprise 80 percent of all tourists. These people come in search of the culture that is “different” from the rest of India, as the Goan image holds a degree of mysticism, a sense of freedom and “unconventional” dress style.

The second is the international tourists who visit Goa purely for the natural environment sun and beaches. Within the category of international tourists are there are two sub-categories: backpackers and charter tourists. Although both visit Goa for the beaches, they stay away from each other. The backpackers are not found in areas of charter tourists; they prefer to mingle and live with the local communities. Whereas, the charter tourists tend to stay in the luxury starred hotels. Domestic and international tourists also differ in terms of the areas they frequent. For the domestic tourist, the beaches hold limited appeal, so domestic tourists remain away from the places frequented by the international tourists.

The timings of visits are clearly different for the domestic and the international tourists. In previous decades, a clear off season for all tourists could be identified, today this is not so for domestic tourists, who come throughout the year albeit in larger numbers in the non-monsoon months. Conversely, international tourists avoid the monsoon months, as for them the use of the beach is the prime attraction to come to Goa.

In the earlier years, the international tourist was one in search of alternative lifestyles and mingling with local communities; however, in more recent years, a considerable homogenization of the traveler has occurred in terms of package tourism. In the 1980s, the domestic tourist came from the middle class and from the adjoining states; however, now domestic tourists that come to Goa are diversifying, as the place attracting a number of the rich young elites from more distant states. In response to these changes, the tourism industry in Goa has evolved into a curious mix of low-budget tourism and up-market hotel development, a mix that is marked with tensions and potential conflicts over the appropriation of resources.


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