The farmer prays for rain...
The traveler for good weather
The Challenge and Prospects of
Tourism in Goa Today
Edited and compiled by
The farmer prays for rain...
The traveler for good weather
The Challenge and Prospects of
Tourism in Goa Today
Edited and compiled by
The Challenge and Prospects of Tourism in Goa today
Edited and compiled by Ranjan Solomon, November 2009
Ranjan Solomon is a committed NGO/ecumenical leader with successful experiences in creating
change through advocacy, communications, and issue education with a particular focus on issues
of development based on social justice, peace, and human rights at local, national and international
levels. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part for educational, advocacy or not-for-profit
Front cover photo - During the CRZ Rally in September 07, taken by Ranjan Solomon
Layout & Printing: J&P Printers, Bengaluru
For copies contact:
Council for Social Justice and Peace
Institude Piedade, D. B. Marg,
Panjim, Goa - 403 001
#415, 2 C-Cross, 4th Main
OMBR Layout, Banaswadi
Bengaluru - S60043, India
The farmer prays for rain; the traveler for good weather 1
Creating patterns and mechanisms for Responsible Tourism - 9
the emergence of the Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT)
An overview and critique of the work carried out by the 1 2
Centre for Responsible Tourism - March 2007 to February 2009
Organizing people to oppose attempted clearing of 27
coastal villages of traditional coastal communities
Opposing the MoEF's Draft Coastal Management Zone notification 33
Coastal Clean-up Towards a People-Centered Beach
Cleaning Programme in Goa 36
Code of Ethics for Responsible Tourism 39
Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS) 42
Federation of Association of Tourist Taxi Owners and Drivers (FATTOD) 50
Federation of Small and Medium Guest Houses in Goa (FOSAM) 63
CRT and the Independent Peoples Tribunal on the World Bank 73
Tourism Impact Assessment Workshop for Rachol Seminarians 75
A Critical Appraisal 83
Annexure 1 : Organisations 86
Tourism has long been a matter of concern for the church in Goa. Way back in
the 1980s, when the first protests against tourism were launched, the church
undertook studies and initiated actions to stem the negative impacts emanating
from tourism. Since then, the efforts have continued but mostly in a sporadic
sort of way. It was not a concerted effort - something that was much needed as
tourism grew and flourished.
Discussions in various fora within the church insisted that the rapid growth of
tourism was a matter of concern for the church especially because one was
beginning to see some severely negative socio-economic-cultural impacts.
Instead of being an industry which brought economic benefits to the local
communities, Goa was being exploited by those who saw in tourism a source
of immense profit. There were other dimensions which were brought forward
as matters of concern. Questions about environmental degradation, the
urbanization of coastal villages, issues of garbage, overcrowding of beaches,
exploitation of workers, criminalization of tourist hot spots, abuse of women
and children and the emergence of sex tourism and popularization of Goa as a
sex tourism destination emerged.
It was felt that the church should not be a passive spectator in the face of these
negative trends as these were eating into the very social fabric of Goan society. It
was agreed that the church should act with urgency and with a comprehensive
approach to the issues. Furthermore, the church would need to look at things
from an ethical perspective and seek to ensure that the actions initiated tied in
gospel values and teachings.
In the process which has accompanied the work of Caritas-Council for Social
Justice and Peace (CSJP), we have set up the Centre for Responsible Tourism
(CRT) alongside a large number of community groups along the coastline. We
have also worked with sectoral groups - tourist taxi owners and drivers, shack
owners, small and medium guest houses, vendors, panchayats, and other
concerned people. This approach pre-supposed that unless people are engaged
in the work, nothing can really go far enough.
Of course, the church does not exist in a vacuum. Goa is a multi-religious, multi-
cultural society. So, any initiative would, of necessity need to include people of
different faiths too so that what finally emerges as a 'peoples alternatives' to the
kind of tourism which is being practiced. In this regard, we must make special
mention and express appreciation for the multi-faceted support we received
from EQUATIONS, Bangalore in many of our endeavors.
We hope this report- a compilation of the various activities and statements
made in the process of work will inspire more people and parishes to take on
aggressive and forward looking steps to humanize tourism and make it just and
Fr. Valerian Vas Fr.MaverickFernandes
Director, Caritas-Goa Executive Secretary, CSJP
June 20, 2009
This introduction seeks to set out the paradigm within which the Centre for
Responsible Tourism has operated. Tackling the negative impacts was not just
another programme initiative of the Archdiocese of Goa. It was an intervention
that tried to find the right relations in the tourism equation. Caritas-Goa and
the Council for Social Justice and Peace, the two bodies which initiated the
programme saw their goal as affirming the idea that tourism is, in the final
analysis, an encounter that belongs in the realm of human affairs and that
concerns human beings. The enrichment that tourism can produce must not be
simply economic or material. There has to be a spiritual dimension to it. Hence,
it was important that the entire work be approached from the perspective of
humanizing tourism. In other words, the effort would have to be established
on ethical foundations with justice as the corner stone and clearly directed
at protecting the human rights of host communities, workers, women, and
children. It would also need to bring benefits to local communities.
At the Second Vatican Council the following pertinent observation was made:
"Shorter working hours are becoming the general rule everywhere and provide
greater opportunities for large numbers of people. This leisure time must be
properly employed to refresh the spirit and improve the health of mind and
body... by means of travel to broaden and enrich people's minds by learning
Tourism can promote authentic human and social development thanks to the
growing opportunity that it offers for a sharing of goods, for rich cultural
exchanges, for approaching natural or artistic beauty, and for an understanding
of different traditions. Especially in our time, tourism appeals to the person
who wants to grow in knowledge and to experience how men and women are
the bearers of civilization. In order for this to be possible, a serious preparation
is necessary, one that avoids improvisation and superficiality. It is important to
develop a persuasive program of education for the values of tourism in relation
to and in defense of the communities and natural and cultural goods of the
hosts. Only then will the new marketplaces of tourism and leisure become
resources for true human enrichment for all.
Rest constitutes one important reason why people try to have free time, and it
is also the most common reason for engaging in tourism. A voyage and a more
or less extended stay in a place different from one's usual place of residence
predispose people to take a break from work and other obligations that are part
of social responsibilities. Rest thus takes on the form of a parenthesis in normal
life. There is a danger that rest may be considered a time for doing nothing.
Certainly this conception does not correspond to the anthropological reality of
rest. In fact, rest consists principally in regaining the full personal equilibrium
that normal living conditions tend to destroy. Therefore, just stopping all activity
is not enough; certain conditions must also be created in order to regain one's
Tourism can facilitate these conditions not only because it involves going away
from one's residence or usual environment, but also because through many
activities, it makes new experiences possible.
It was in 1969 that the World Council of Churches first convened a World
Consultation on Tourism. That was a milestone in the tourism debate. And
the tone of the debate about meaning of human existence in tourism was
set when Professor James Glasse, a principal speaker at the meeting, raised
issues of tourism and posed the challenge of evolving an 'ethics of leisure'
and underlined how, it was pertinent to draw up the parameters of a 'leisure
ethic just as much there is the demand for a work ethic'. Another dimension
that emerged at the discussions was around the affirmation that all human
energies exist to serve God and celebrate God's gifts of life to humankind.
Leisure activities including tourism must similarly be subject to God's rules
Tourism is, above all, the quest for a form of spirituality that acquires the traits
of a pilgrimage. A pilgrim goes off in search of God and in the pursuit of truth.
God's truth cannot be found outside the ambit of justice and true community.
In a world torn asunder by economic divisions, a traveler can make the choice,
or be encouraged to chose, to go out in search for people-to-people encounters
as part of which each discover the other, understand each other, share with
each other what they can and have. This is a pilgrim pathway that can lead to
mutuality, solidarity, and to the real discovery of human community. It will be the
trail to cessation of abuses of the previous ways of exploitation rooted in greed.
It will symbolize the abandonment of the search for profit alone and, instead,
instill stewardship values of God's world of people, the mountains, seas, islands,
air, birds, trees- indeed all of God's precious creations.
There was an obvious lacuna in the way resistance to the forms of tourism
in Goa was being organized. Perhaps, that explains why one found a sense
of urgency and a quick preparedness of communities and of different sectors
in Goa to the initiatives of the CRT. The work of the Centre for Responsible
Tourism has just begun. Much more needs to be done. We have merely set up
the foundations for the work. We must now enter a period of consolidation.
A strategy to develop sustainability for the programme must also follow. This
report will, hopefully, stimulate more parishes in the coastal areas to join the
programme to create patterns of responsible tourism.
Consultant, Centre for Responsible Tourism
June 20, 2009
The farmer prays for rain:
the traveler for good weather
This working paper outlines challenges of tourism in Goa. This paper served as
the foundation on which the Archdiocese of Goa, Daman, and Diu developed its
response to the question of tourism in Goa. It was first discussed by a Consultative
Meeting of representatives of various coastal communities and others in June 2006.
The paper draws from various sources - newspaper clippings, articles and papers
written by people in Goa.
For the two million visitors who land on its shores each year, India's beach tourism
capital of Goa is just a good holiday. Goa is a former Portuguese colony, a small
region of 3,700 square kilometers with a population of just 1 .4 million. But studies
now show that the impact of mass tourism is pressuring Goa, where tourism first
took root in the 1960s with disaffected Western youth fleeing the materialism of
their own societies.
Indeed, mass tourism in Goa did not arise overnight; it was a slow process that began
with the arrival of the hippies in the sixties. An observer had this to say as his narrative
about tourism in Goa: 'Goa was a hippy paradise; the locals were friendly, the dope
was cheap and the beaches were beautiful. Apart from bewildering the locals with
their strange looks and behaviour, the hippies' impact in Goa was minimal. They
were more or less able to adapt to the local way of life, eating local food and living in
simple accommodation. They provided extra income to local communities and often
made long-lasting friendships with local people'.
Charter Tourism Takes Root and Tourism Income Leaks Begin: It wasn't until
the mid-eighties and the arrival of charter flights to Goa that changes really began to
take place. The charter flights brought a new breed of tourist who had money and
demanded western amenities. This quickly caught the attention of foreign investors
and tour companies, who wasted no time in building hotels, swimming pools and
even golf courses to meet the tourists' growing expectations and demands. The
government, slightly fed up with hippies, celebrated the arrival of the high-spending
tourists and the foreign exchange they would bring.
However, very little profit reached the local people. The majority of the money spent
by package tourists went to foreign hotel owners or the European tour companies
who arrange the holidays. When the locals do succeed in profiting from tourism, it
is normally privileged commercial groups that benefit, not the people who have to
suffer the negative consequences.
Ecological Price- Who Pays? Accustomed to high standards of living in the West,
tourists rarely consider the ecological price of their comforts. Swimming pools and
golf courses use a huge amount of water, a resource that is very limited, especially
during the dry season in April and May. While tourists swim in pools, locals often
have to put up with water shortages and live in danger of the water table dropping,
which could have fatal consequences on Goan agriculture. Besides water, hotels
consume vast amounts of building materials and electricity and create a lot of waste.
The absence of efficient public transport has increased the growth of motorbikes and
cars substantially. This, in turn, has aggravated environmental pollution.
Problem of Garbage and Litter: Litter has become a major problem in Goa and
there is no infrastructure to deal with it. It ends up in piles, either left to rot or to
be burnt. One of the biggest problems is the use of plastic bottles used for mineral
water. Most tourists drink several bottles a day and discard them, left for somebody
else to deal with. More often than not they are burnt, adding toxic fumes into the
atmosphere. Goa's economy is confronted, as an after effect of tourism, by a solid
waste management problem and little effort has been made to address it.
Exceeding carrying capacities: Over 500,000 tourists visit the beaches and other
coastal places of this district each year. Currently, tourism officials estimate a total
of two million tourists visit Goa each year, of which nearly a 250,000 are foreigners.
North Goa district is a major tourist destination and a hub of a variety of tourism-
related activities. Its most scenic spots are being squeezed of water resources, choked
by sewage, swamped by humans. Its skyline and vegetation are undergoing a drastic
change, say a series of recently published studies on the subject.
Goa's tourism belt is getting overcrowded. Male in-migration into the tourism areas of
Goa has reversed the earlier favorable-to-women sex ratio here. Candolim, a former
fishing village now turned tourist destination immediately south of the overbuilt and
once world famous Calangute beach, has a density of 1,021 persons per kilometer,
as compared to Bardez Taluka's 624 persons per kilometer.
Unless something is done fast, the price to be paid could be enormous.
Environmental Denigration: Water resources are stretched by the influx of
tourists. Low budget hotels need 573 of liters of water per room per day. Luxury
hotels, by contrast, need 1 ,335 liters per room per day, as they have huge landscaped
areas, swimming pools, and up to three restaurants.
The beaches of Goa were reported to be very clean with dense vegetation and
magnificent dunes three decades ago. Overexploitation of the beaches for tourism
related activities has severely degraded the sand dune habitats.
It is estimated that the groundwater in coastal Bardez is stressed due to tourism
related activities. Groundwater quality has deteriorated due to indiscriminate disposal
of human generated waste, including disposal from septic tanks and cesspools. The
bacterial and nitrate concentrations are quite abnormal in almost all the coasta
stretches of Bardez Taluka.
Urbanization along the coastal belt: With beaches providing attractive holiday
possibilities, the rich and famous from major metropolises are beginning to invest in
Goa with holiday homes/second homes. This, in turn, has sharply pushed up land
prices, created overcrowding. Villages that once housed 85 families now have to
contend with mega housing projects which contain a minimum of 550 flats in all. The
consequences are serious and solutions far from being pursued. Local community
resources are diverted to the new housing projects since those who occupy them carry
the economic clout which get local and state government to put a premium on their
demands rather than those of the local communities. Additionally, the new housing
projects have not been accompanied by corresponding increase in infrastructure
needs. Crowded streets, large numbers of street vendors, and footpath eat-outs,
increased traffic in the form of cars, scooters, and tourist buses, electricity failures,
water shortages, growing crime, and in-migration leading to social tensions. All in all,
local communities have suddenly been thrust with a variety of social, economic, and
cultural pressures that they are unable to manage.
Tourism is Fire Minus the Smoke! There are indicators which suggest how
various sections of the population get incorporated in tourist businesses. Tourism is
more attractive to those with houses close to the sea. Tourism also attracts the young
given that tourism is a glamour activity, especially those with low levels of education
and drop-outs. Others likely to become involved are people who own agricultural
land in watersheds but do not cultivate it; those from the fishing community, as
it provides them a social ladder for moving up; and those who belong to the low-
income bracket, as tourism is associated with easy money.
Cultural Invasion: Since only a small proportion of the tourist's money normally
makes its way to the locals, there can be fierce competition to reap the benefits. In
many areas of Goa, tourists have come to be regarded simply as a source of economic
gain, a commercial relationship based on making money, not authentic friendship.
Some writers have associated this commercialization of human relationships with
the disruption of personal relations, weakening the ability of the host society to co-
operate with one another in day to day life.
A major concern in Goa is the effect of western culture on the youth in Goa. A
growing number of young Goans are taking drugs, going to trance parties (raves)
and losing interest in their own culture and society. Their way of life and culture is
being abandoned and destroyed, likely to be replaced by a holiday culture that can
found in parts of Ibiza, Greece or Spain, but without the infrastructure or resources
to sustain such growth for much longer.
Problem of Pedophiles: India's economic policy of liberalization has been
encouraging the promotion of tourism, most often regardless of its consequences.
Child sex tourism is threatening to become the darker side of life in Goa's tropical
paradise - and there is evidence that the Indian authorities are turning their back on
the problem. Goa is in danger of replacing Bangkok as Asia's prime sex resort. Several
foreign men from Europe, North America and Australasia have been arrested, but
most offenders escape prosecution. Bail is easy to obtain in such cases, and bribe-
taking among police officers is common.
Child trafficking is an organized racket, about which there is little concern. Stricter
laws and implementation/monitoring mechanisms are required to counter the
growing problem before it reaches epidemic proportions.
Prostituted children are usually, but not exclusively, from the more vulnerable sectors
of society. Poverty and illiteracy fuel the problem. Many children are lured away from
their villages by vice rings, often with the connivance of poor parents. They end up
in the beach resorts of Goa where drugs such as hashish and heroin are available
cheaply - providing an added attraction to foreigners.
Trafficking: There are various ways that the sex offenders get access. Some approach
the children directly on the beach, and offer them a drink or a meal before taking
them back their hotel rooms. Others are approached by intermediaries, such as shack
owners and motorcycle taxi drivers. Young men function as agents and quite openly
offer tourists help to have fun with girls. 13-year-old girls are no problem to get
according to agents, even though the age of consent is 18.
There is such demand in Goa for child sex workers that they are now being trafficked
into the state on demand by criminal gangs operating from India. Traffickers in
Mumbai contact the local traffickers and ask them how many girls they want, and
then traffic the girls by buses. The local traffickers receive these girls from the bus
stop and then supply them to the hotels and lodges. It is an organized network.
Criminalization of Tourism in Goa: Even as tourism becomes big business,
doubtful and dubious people have staked their claims to a share of the profits. It
is no secret that the coasts of Goa are being bought off by investors from overseas
who operate virtual mafias. Consequently, the shacks, bars and restaurants, and
the medium sized tourist residences have all become centers of mafia activity. Chief
among the nationalities who operate these criminal operations include the Russians,
Germans, and Israelis. There is suspicion that local politicians and the police are
hand-in-glove with the mafia and/or have been bought off by them. The coasts
have become the location of tourism that actually cover up things such as money
laundering, drugs, prostitution, trafficking of women, children, and workers.
Tourism is seasonal and vulnerable: Tourism is highly seasonal in Goa. When
a tourist season has ended, it also leaves many Goan residents concerned about
their resources. Since the tourist concentration occurs in the non-monsoon months
of October to March, this causes some problems of its own. Goa has to scale up its
infrastructure to be able to meet the demands of the peak season. So, facilities are
underutilized in the off-season, and the tourist population outnumbers the local host
population in season, placing additional stress on coastal resources.
Land is abandoned for speculation, as rural land prices rise. Traditional systems of
cultivation are converted, and agriculture becomes a part-time activity by workers who
have shifted to the service sector.Farmers in villages around coastal areas of North Goa
which have stakes in tourism have not been cultivating their agricultural land. Researchers
have found that as many as 57 percent of households in Assagao and 50 percent in
Arpora and Marra have left their lands to lie without tending them.
Local communities do not benefit: Estimates show that appox 65% of rent-
backs are owned by non-resident Goans, 20-25% by Goans from India's cities and
10-15% by natives residing in Goa. There is a feeling among local people, despite
their involvement, that the gains from tourism are not substantial. There is a growing
feeling that large hotels and external groups are cornering the economic benefits,
while the local population has to bear the social and environmental burden."
Locals have been fighting to prevent major hotel projects, such as the proposed
Japanese village at Morjim and the hotel extension programmes. At the same time
locals view migrant groups with distrust, as they feel that their lack of a stake in
the land within the tourist village. In the Baga-Nerul watershed on the North Goa
coast, it was found that sewage is rarely treated. In 99% of low-budget, 100% of
middle-budget, 89% of high-budget and 33% of luxury hotels, the sewage is being
disposed of in soak-pits or tanks. Only 11% of the high-budget and 67% of the
luxury hotels are able to treat their sewage in treatment plants.
The potential of profits from tourism are being siphoned off by neighboring states.
Since Goa depends on Karnataka and Maharashtra for its food products, it is evident
that there is a high leakage of the potential income that could have been generated,
by local sourcing of food supply to the tourism industry.
Local protests: Discontentment of locals, rising inequality and poverty, and reduced
"tolerance" of the outsider, are beginning to take their toll. Levels of crime and theft
are rising, as is greed and corruption. Behind the smiles of local people, a sense
of uneasiness is creeping in as the state becomes more corrupt. The police force
and tourism department are becoming feared by everyone working in the tourist
industry; bribes are often paid simply to stay out of trouble, whether or not there is
The Way Forward - Challenges for the Church in Goa today
The Church has often spoken up against the evils of tourism and proposed alternatives
to the patterns of mass tourism. This has been somewhat sporadic and ad-hoc. With
the issues getting complex and the intensity of the problems worsening, now is a
defining moment- one in which the Church could well play a prophetic role in calling
tourism just what it has degenerated into. The challenge of working towards justice
in tourism is imperative and no more a choice to be undertaken. Tourism is leaving
in its trail far too many victims and a track of suffering for children, women, coastal
communities, workers, fisher folk, farmers, and other sections too. In addition, the
burdens placed on the environment are potentially devastating and must be tackled
with urgency if only to prevent large scale damage and the consequent phenomena
of storms, cyclones, floods, etc. After all, coastal ecology is delicate and can easily
be distressed by the onslaught of liquid waste, solid wastes, dropping water tables,
elimination of sand dunes and mangroves. Rising sea levels are known to be one of
the consequences of waste dumping on the coasts. Goa has not yet been violated to
the extent that some other similar destinations have been violated. Yet, one does not
need to await the worst before acting. Some of the steps which can be undertaken
are of a short term nature- ameliorative in scope. Others are of a long term character
with the potential to pre-empt problems. The following initial programmes suggested
are in order of priority. They may need to be worked on in tandem.
Issues and Programme Areas
• Information Centre: This will be a location where concerned tourists can visit
to be oriented upon their arrival to the facts and realities of Goan Tourism. It
could include briefings about "Do's and Don'ts" for tourists. In a sense it is a way
to sensitize the tourist to the need to be responsible and fair in their dealings
with the local communities and their cultures, workers, women, children, and
the environment. It also would ask for the tourists to cease viewing people and
cultures as commodities and make their best effort to see that the benefits of
their holiday percolate to the local communities. It could also be a place where
issues in tourism are debated at the public level and in parishes as a way of
conscientizing the public at large.
• Tourism Watch: This would be an effort for the CRT to monitor some of the
impacts of tourism in all aspects described above and to be able to quickly
mobilize local communities to organize and intervene where their interests are
being affected. Towards this, local parishes and their leaders will need to be
involved as the 'rallying points' for action and transformation.
• Alternative Tours: CRT could offer tourists alternative packages through which
tourists can experience the real Goa - not the commoditized version of Goa.
Such a package would introduce the tourist to authentic cultural encounters
with the multiple cultures that make up Goa, understand the social realities of
people- especially those who are marginalized, see the various heritage sites and
understand their significance not merely from a 'photo album' requirement, nor
as place to be visited, but to understand the place of heritage in the making of
modern Goa- indeed, a social understanding of heritage. The multi-religious and
multi-cultural context of Goa also serves to provide tourists a genuine 'spiritual
pilgrimage' through which they see how people of different faiths live together,
and the various issues in contemporary politics that threaten to divide this
wonderful and carefully constructed co-existence. In other words the alternative
tour can have various dimensions as separate or continuous tourist experiences
enveloping tours which include: Pro-poor Tourism, Solidarity Tourism, Cultural
tourism, Spiritual tourism, Eco-tourism, Wildlife tourism. Coastal tourism etc.
What will distinguish the alternative from the mass tour is that it will be more
than just a passing glance and comment. It will seek to be a true encounter
between the tourist and communities.
• Community-based Tourism (CBT): In order to ensure that the benefits of tourism
reach the local communities, CRT can help to develop various communities to be
viable hosts who offer more than just lodging but an authentic Goan experience.
CBT will also enable the local communities to develop their own packages, tour
guides, transportation system, entrepreneurs and every other aspect of the tour
package. Local communities may also develop their own guidelines and patterns
of tourist behaviour, encourage family oriented tourism as opposed to the single
tourist, and even develop/ popularize local settings (such as water falls, lakes, bird
Perhaps what is needed in Goa is support for small-scale community based tourism
in which profits are shared and genuine friendships are made. Wherever possible,
tourism should be used as a way of conserving the environment, educating both
hosts and guests about the sustainable use of resources and contributing funds
towards sustainable development.
With Goan families, it is possible to provide the chance to live with a local family,
experience Goan life and learn music, art and cooking. It is a place to recharge and
experience the rich Goan culture in its simple context. We have tried a number of
ways to involve more of the community, but this is no easy task, so we have kept the
project small and cozy, we grow bananas, eat well and play music after supper.
• Combating the Evils of Sex Tourism and Child Abuse in Tourism: This is an
urgent step to be undertaken in collaboration with the several other organizations/
groups which are working on issues of gender justice and child protection. This is
not just a matter of intervening from a victim perspective. It is a way by which the
patterns of sex tourism are being subtly dragged into Goan tourism alongside the
criminalization of tourism. For the church, this could include:
o Protection to the victims of sex tourism and pedophiles
o Initiating pre-emptive actions by which vulnerable communities are provided
development support that will preventthem from being compelled or tempted
o Monitoring the pattern of trafficking of women and children into the sex trade
from neighboring state and establishing networks with counterpart groups to
act at preventive and ameliorative levels. This could include working with local
groups to provide rehabilitation programmes to those who are drafted into
It is said that 'The farmer prays for rain at the same time when the traveler
prays for good weather'. The challenge for the church in Goa may be to reconcile
these two contrasting and contradictory interests based on dignity and justice for
the host communities and a bona fide and valid experience for the tourist. This is the
essence of the challenge ahead.
Creating Patterns and Mechanisms
for Responsible Tourism
the emergence of the
Centre for Responsible Tourism
The UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) has estimated 42
lakh tourists as being within Goa's tourist carrying capacity. Through a variety of
multilateral institutions, and in line with the growing need of leisure tourism, these
numbers will be thrust on the people of Goa regardless of the viability or otherwise
of such a large tourist influx. That raises the moot question: Who did the UNWTO ask
before it arrived at its conclusions? Have the people been consulted? Who are the
most likely beneficiaries of this tourist bubble? Above all, will unregulated tourism
development continue to devastate environments, degrade cultures and destroy
traditional livelihoods in Goa? As one of the world's most popular destinations, Goa
is not immune to the negative impacts of tourism. One is already witness to many of
these trends and urgent, pre-emptive measures must be put in place before chaos
Centre for Responsible Tourism takes birth;
Formulates a Plan of Action
Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT) took formal birth in July 2007 when a group
of some 40 + concerned Goans were convened by Caritas-Goa and the Council
for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) under the Archdiocese of Goa to examine how
the church must respond to the fallouts of tourism and reverse the impacts in ways
that would bring a human face to tourism and result in the benefits of tourism
reaching local communities. CRT affirmed the need to study how tourism planning
and management could be effectively brought under community stewardship and
management. If the laws of the country were to take root, then tourism would
rightfully belong to the local Panchayats. Governments and the industry are not
willing to allow this to happen simply because they would rather skim of the profits
for their benefits , to those sections of the industry to which they are beholden
and allow just the crumbs from the tourism profit machine to fall into community
In developing its work, CRT studied the various issues and impacts so as to frame an
adequate response. In adopting work priorities, it adopted the following as starting
points and priorities to be addressed. (Needless to say, as the work proceeded, a
number of other factors reshaped and broadened the scope and nature of its work):
Child sex tourism: When everything and anyone can be turned into a commodity, there
is a greater chance for exploitation of vulnerable members of poor communities including
children. More than one million children are sexually abused by tourists every year within
the global child sex tourism industry. Although there are a number of organizations
working on this issue, the numbers involved in child sex tourism are increasing. In Goa,
statistics of child abuse are unreliable, but a child's services can be sold for as little as £3
with the trafficking of child sex workers becoming increasingly popular.
Exploitation of women: According to the International Labour Organization (ILO)
women make up 70% of the labour force in tourism industry and half are under 25
years of age. Women often are the most undervalued and underpaid workers and
amongst the most exploited within the tourism industry. They are often left out of
decision-making and planning and they miss out on the benefits of tourism. Indeed,
they have ended up as commodities sold by devious locals and bought by deceitful,
lust-filled tourists as sex objects.
Cultural conflicts: Tourists are lucky enough to see and share experiences of different
cultures, religions, dress, and ideas. However, behind the scenes those very cultures
that help to make their holidays so special are being violated.
In Goa, traditional coastal communities suffer greatly due to tourism. Their cultures,
beaches, sacred and religious sites, heritage, homes and livelihoods are wrecked in
many instances by tourism. They often live in areas with unspoilt landscapes making
them an ideal target for the tourism industry where it is often imposed on them
without agreement or discussion - where little or no economic benefit is gained and
where their lives are changed drastically.
Water abuse: The presence of tourists naturally means a much higher demand
for water. This places an extra burden. Goans now bear the brunt of extraordinary
water shortages. Showers, swimming pools and watering of lawns can destroy water
reserves, and often tourists are ignorant of the fact that the local populations lack
water for their personal use and for irrigation. Local communities normally do not
benefit, and in most cases, are not allowed access to infrastructure built to ensure
safe drinking water. The development of golf courses and hotel swimming pools
are responsible for depleting and contaminating water sources for surrounding
communities. An average 18-hole golf course soaks up at least 525,000 gallons of
water a day - enough to supply the irrigation needs of 1 00 farmers.
Foreign office travel advisories: Travel advice by the foreign governments has
often proven to have a devastating affect on many of the global tourism destinations
it is imposed on. There are reports highlighting the inconsistencies between travel
advisories on destinations and the devastating impacts these have had - impacts
which are felt most by the working class in the communities. Israel has also made a
habit of prompting unfounded fears about tourist safety in Goa and advising Israelis
against "all non-essential travel". The effects of this are devastating for the industry
especially for the smaller sectors who, in any case, must work overtime to make it!
Tourist dropout numbers are growing every year under various pretexts and one also
sees the veiled hand of competition behind these maneuvers. The tourism industry in
Goa, with support from the government must demand a more open and fair travel
advice aimed at reducing the impacts of travel advisories - whilst not putting the
public at risk.
Displacement: Tourism development has caused many communities to be forcibly
displaced -removed from their traditional lands -coastal communities and indigenous
groups in Goa being particularly vulnerable. Governments and private companies
have forced many people off their land in the name of conservation to make way
for eco-tourism, tourism resorts and national parks. Families and communities
are often evicted without warning. Mass tourism can seriously disrupt thriving
local communities; small businesses are forced to compete with well-established
multinational companies and local people are made to endure higher prices (from
food to property) due to the presence of tourists.
Environmental damage: Environmental damage often results from rapid and
uncontrolled development due to tourism - the environment plays second best to
tourism profits. All too often in Goa, the government and private enterprises prefer
to maintain their tourist economies rather than their ecosystems. As a result, tourism
developments - often built in the most beautiful landscapes and places, threaten and
destroy environment and exhaust limited natural resources - destroying these places
for local peoples and future tourists.
Waste created by the tourism industry is difficult to remove from fragile areas and
mountains of rubbish are appearing in the most beautiful landscapes on earth. Marine
life is being wrecked by irresponsible and unregulated tourism by diving, water sports
and coastal tourism. Golf tourism has created huge problems for local people using
huge amounts of water and pesticides.
Empowering the sub-sectors of Goan Tourism: As a way of Goan self-assertion,
CRT decided that it was a key role of the centre to work with three of tourism's main
sectors - tourist taxi drivers, shack owners and the small and medium guest houses
- and empower them so that they can lobby for and enforce policies on the state
government which guarantee that the large chunk of the benefits of tourism reach
them and not the externally controlled tour operators and hotels/resorts.
The above issues emerged as the core agenda around which CRT developed its
An overview and critique of the work
carried out by Centre for Responsible Tourism
March 2007 - February 2009
The Archdiocese of Goa, Daman and Diu Programme on Tourism and its impacts
on Coastal Communities has been working on issues of the negative impacts of
tourism for many years. It is important to record here that the church had contested
the claims about tourism made by the government and industry as far back as in the
early eighties when it fought against the arrival of the 5-star hotels and golf courses.
At that point in time, the struggle was to protect local resources. Since then the
interventions in tourism were ad hoc in nature and in response to localized issues.
Hence, this report must be seen within the understanding that the responses of the
Church to the negative impacts of tourism and the impulse to develop alternatives
that can result in new patterns of tourism are not new. The church has protested
against the negative impacts of tourism and campaigned to protect local livelihoods
and culture since the eighties when big corporations and hotels entered the tourism
In November 2006, there was a conscious decision to restart the initiative in a full
fledged manner with a comprehensive programme that would engage people in the
coastal villages to oppose the negative impacts of tourism and foster alternate patterns
of leisure travel and recreation which are rooted in values of justice, peace, and
development for all. This vision accords primacy to the notion of mutually beneficial
encounters between visitors and hosts for a sharing of goods, for rich cultural
exchanges, for approaching natural or artistic beauty, for a comparison between
different mentalities, traditions and religions and ultimately for the enrichment of the
The vision is based on the understanding that tourism is, above all, the quest for a
form of spirituality that acquires the traits of a pilgrimage. A pilgrim goes off in search
of God and in the pursuit of truth. God's truth cannot be found outside the ambit of
justice and true community. Hence tourism must seek to instill stewardship values of
God's world of people, mountains, seas, islands, air, birds, trees- indeed all of God's
The intent was to build a just and sustainable tourism in Goa rooted in the Christian
teachings of love and caring for all of God's peoples, and to demonstrate in the arena
of tourism the spirit of caring and responsibility for human dignity. The CRT Mission
Statement highlights how this intent impinges on the church to pursue pathways of
tourism that include ideas and values where:
Cultural identities of host communities are affirmed and protected.
People centeredness counts (host community as the architects and proponents of
Nature is seen as an essential part of God's creation and the obligation to protect
and respect it from extinction or abuse is viewed as a vital precondition in
Solidarity and advocacy- especially with and for those who become victims of the
tourism industry's exploitative ways- is affirmed.
Cultural integrity so that people can protect their cultures from being
Economic benefits of tourism accrue to local communities first and last.
Women, children and workers are accorded their human rights as a matter of
Criminalization of tourism spaces is opposed and a climate of goodwill takes its
Common spaces such as beaches, forests, wildlife habitats are treated as belonging
to the commons and not privatized for the self aggrandizement of a few.
Where heritage - wherever positive in orientation and scope- is viewed with
pride and preserved for visitors as well as hosts.
A core group of people from 23 coastal villages in Goa, then set out a vision
statement through participatory processes and developed working objectives for
community-based groups. The initiatives of each group varied according to the needs
and priorities of each community group and their village context. In summary, the
Opposing the urbanization of coastal villages
Protecting local livelihoods
Environmental management - including garbage/waste management geared to
Promoting local entrepreneurships
Studying alternative patterns of tourism - sites that are rarely visited but have
Promoting nature tourism
Advocating for preserving heritage as cultural affirmation as opposed to allowing
traditions to be discarded in preference for modernity
Affirming cultural identity as a solid base for mutuality between hosts and
An important initiative within the scope of the work described above was to campaign
and strategize for Responsible Tourism in and through which the local communities
benefit from tourism and not external operators. In other words, the attempt to skim
away profits (income leakages) is avoided. In line with the above, and in addition to
organizing the 23 community groups, CRT has organized various sectors including
the Taxi Drivers, Shack Owners, and Small and Medium Guest Houses.
Centre for Responsible Tourism: A Centre for Responsible Tourism has been
established in Colva and is geared to being a resource centre for tourism activists in
the state and an 'encounter space' for visitors and local groups. The centre houses
magazines and information from around the world and it is hoped, that it will soon
turn out to be a vibrant rallying point for training local activists and concerned tourists
about how notions of 'responsible tourism' can be carried forward. It is, for the time
being, just what it is called. Hopefully, it will grow into a 'Research-Information'
Centre staffed by qualified personnel. The Centre itself has not achieved its potential,
even partially, partly because of the lack of personnel and the failure to create a
system of information-documentation at the level of CRT itself.
Community groups: Under CRT, 23 community (village) groups have been
established all across the coast stretching from Mandrem and Morjim in the North
to Palolem in the South. Each of these groups serves as 'Tourism Monitors' based
on studies and analysis of the actual impacts of tourism on their coastal stretches.
Selected leaders from their groups have been trained to identify and analyze various
aspects of the negative impacts tourism. These impacts range from social, cultural,
economic, and environmental. While recognizing the potential benefits of tourism,
groups protest the negative and attempt to put in place alternatives that will enhance
their own community lives and enhance the benefits of tourism for their people.
Combating child abuse: Most of the groups have been trained in identifying
pedophiles and been motivated to combat the phenomena through citizen
intervention initiatives in cooperation with child rights organizations. 1 000 volunteers
have been trained and motivated. Mass awareness campaigns in locations such as
shacks, restaurants, shops, ferries, guest houses and hotels have been initiated. These
have been carried out in cooperation with Jan Ugahi and Children's Rights in Goa
(both child rights organizations)
Fighting the exploitation of women: A major public education seminar on
the theme: "Do Women Really Benefit from Tourism - The Goan experience" was
held in September 2007 in conjunction with World Tourism Day. Presentations and
discussions highlighted how women are the most exploited in the tourism sector and
end up being the most marginalized when it comes to its economic benefits. Panel
• Trafficking of Women - Ms. Joanita Valadares
• Case studies on Child Abuse - Ms Bernardete D'Souza
• Globalization, Gender and Tourism Impacts - Ms Vidya Rangan
• Representation of Women in Tourism - Ms Judith Almeida
• Testimony on 'I am a mother ' - Ms Cecilia Pereira
In a statement issued by the Archbishop of Goa on the occasion spelt out the position
taken by CRT. The position took into account expressions of disagreement by tourism
groups in the country, notably EQUATIONS & CRT's main partners. The Archbishop
"The World Tourism Organization (UN-WTO) had chosen as its theme for World
Tourism Day, 2007: "Tourism opens doors for women". In choosing the theme of
women and tourism for the year 2007, it has focused its attention on this issue
for the first time since 1980. Tourism is a sector of the economy that not only
employs significant numbers of women, but provides enormous opportunities for
their advancement" states Secretary General Francesco Frangialli, in his customary
message on World Tourism Day.
Tourism does indeed employ many women. But as experiences highlight, the odds
against women benefiting are extremely high. The UNWTO must go beyond a position
of approbation and look at tourism's record thus far, both in the empowerment of
women and in the exploitation of women.
The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and
men is a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice. In Goa, women
in the organized sector in tourism are relegated to relatively low skill and low paying
or stereotypical jobs like housekeeping, front-desk and reception, catering and
laundry services. They face very high risks of sexual harassment and exploitation and
are discouraged from forming unions or associations to consolidate their strength
and influence. The proportion of women's to men's wages is also less. The role of
women in informal tourism settings such as running home-stay facilities, restaurants
and shacks, crafts and handicrafts, handloom, small shops and street vending is
significant. Yet, their contributions are taken for granted.
Tourism is increasingly seen to have a role in this entrenchment in its links to
trafficking, prostitution and sex tourism. Instances of girls as young as 15 and 16
year olds being trapped in the sex industry having been attracted into it only by the
lure of materialistic pursuits are much too frequent. We have probably never stopped
to think that one of these young girls is a sister, daughter, or neighbor. Else, we might
have behaved differently.
For us in Goa, we come face-to-face with these realities and often tend to bypass
them with indifference and inaction. That is, perhaps, why the situation only worsens
and those who perpetuate the oppression of women in tourism continue their crimes
against women with impunity.
What can we do in concrete terms?
• Firstly, we can abandon our apathy and indifference by getting to know the facts
and the reasons behind these facts.
• Secondly, we can form ourselves into small parish level groups especially in the
coastal areas where the tourism industry has its direct reach to spread awareness
about the situations of women in the industry.
• Thirdly, we can begin to identify the women who are victims of the tourism
industry's wayward behaviour and develop concrete actions of solidarity with
them in an attempt to first alleviate and then undo their victimization. This can be
done and through parish level groups that unite men-in-solidarity-with-women- a
potentially powerful instrument of mission.
• Fourthly, women who have been victimized could be assisted in programmes
of rehabilitation and recovery so that they can put behind the painful memories
and move on with their lives. This could include counseling, vocational guidance,
educational assistance and alternative, all of which job assistance can be done
through appropriate parish groups.
• Fifthly, 'Tourism Monitor' groups in parishes should function as alert and agile
watch-dog groups who monitor trends in their particular communities and
seek to pre-empt situations where women are made vulnerable because of the
exploitative designs of misguided people.
On this day - the 27th of September 2007, I hope we can all strive to radically alter
the conditions of the women whose fate it has been to bear the burdens of an
industry which has been a boon to some and a bane to many young women who
are its fortunate victims.
Given what we actually know about the patterns of tourism today, it is really hard to
agree with the UNWTO's claim that 'tourism opens doors for women'. We, as Christians,
are obliged to abandon indifference and apathy and instead, adopt a pattern of life
which engages us with the sufferings of our sisters here in Goa, and everywhere else who
are either misguided or ensnared into the oppressive ways of tourism.
I wish to conclude this letter with the words of Elie Wiesel, author, teacher and
1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner who said: The opposite of love is not hate, it is
indifference. I believe we will choose love- in short, action. "
A press release jointly issued by CRT, Alternatives, Caritas-Goa CSJP and EQUATIONS
at the end of the event was widely distributed and received much public attention.
Through the statement, women of Goa involved with and concerned about the ill
effects of tourism demanded Equality, Equity and Empowerment from tourism in
Goa. The statement pointed out to how: "Tourism development in Goa has not only
been gender blind and insensitive but also contributed directly to the exploitation
and marginalization of our women and children. ...we see more and more young
women drawn into tourism as mere objects of pleasure."
"Goa is a holiday destination for the rich and famous and pockets of muck and
mire for poor migrants who come to find work in the peak tourism season. And the
"sun, sea, sand and sex" tag to Goa tourism has made it one of the countries prime
Another important issue discussed at the meeting was the under-representation
of women in tourism spaces and decisions. Questioning the government on this, a
community leader from Colva asked - "Why has the Goa government deliberately
ignored women's voices and opinions in framing and implementing the overall tourism
policy? Is it because our government and society is still largely male-chauvinistic
and considers Indian women's work confined to cooking, needle work and child
Commenting on the situation of women in the context of increasing globalization,
the release spelt out how "despite the fact that women account for 45% of the
organized and 90% of the unorganized global workforce in tourism, their rights
and benefits leave much to be desired for. Most tourism activities exploit women
through wage discrimination, unequal opportunities, inhuman working conditions,
stereotypical and low-paying jobs, no social security and increased exposure to sexual
and non-sexual abuse at work."
The release recorded the narrative of a child rights activist who stated how young
girls are being sought, abused and raped for the pleasure of tourists. "The worst part
is that the abuser sees himself as a tourist consumer who believes that he has the
right to every kind of pleasure and can use anyone to secure it". Despite the fact that
the state government has enacted a Children's Act meant to protect and promote the
rights of children, the child is still totally unsafe in this tourist paradise.
In a powerful deposition, a mother spoke of how she was "pained and scared as a
mother to see how tourism has affected our values, culture and tradition in Goa. I
dream of a day when our daughters will be seen as sisters and not the object of brute
In pursuance of these observations, mass awareness campaigns on how Goa can
avoid the stereotypes that women are a mere commodity in the tourism industry, are
being carried out. There are awareness initiatives seeking to highlight the dangers
of becoming a 'permissive' society within the existing parameters of the tourism
industry. Community groups are seeking avenues to prevent the absorption of young
girls and women being trafficked.
In conclusion, the statement underlined how: "although tourism does have the
capacity to empower women - economically, socially and culturally, it has not yet
been able to fulfill this role effectively. International and national policies merely pay
lip service to women's empowerment in tourism without providing specifics of how
it will be achieved. Developing gender-sensitive policies, providing greater space
for women in decision-making roles and changing the dominant patriarchal social
outlook to demand gender sensitivity and justice are the first steps towards true
empowerment of women. The condition of women in tourism in Goa is appalling
and needs urgent and radical reversal of the situation."
De-commodifying culture:Through the various village/community groups, people
are being made aware that Goan culture is distinct and it must not be compromised
within the tourism arena. The need to market in an effective way is being highlighted
through the various people, guest houses, shacks, and young people who can take
the message of Goa's distinct cultural heritage. Street theatre and other art forms are
being popularized through artists.
Water abuse: This issue is being fought in courts alongside opposition to hotels
who are in violation of environmental standards. Specifically, community/village
groups are taking up this matter with local and state authorities arguing that
water is a basis right and not a commodity that can be sold for pleasure when it
does not serve the basics needs of people. Groups are filing RTIs around which
they hope to put together campaigns against the abuse of their essential water
resources for sheer pleasures.
Contesting negative foreign travel advisories: Only marginal attention has been
paid to this, but in the years to come CRT intends to aggressively address the question
of negative media publicity particularly during the Christmas time. In the wake of the
so-called 'Mumbai attacks on November 26th, 2008 several countries restrained their
citizens from travelling to Goa. Other countries demanded ridiculous levels of security
precautions for tourists from their countries which left the coastline looking more
like an army barrack. There is suspicion that the travel advisories issued at the peak
of the tourist season (December 1 5th to January 1 0th each year) are largely geared
to getting popular destinations buying security contracts - many of which come for
certain countries. The travel advisory is usually based on knee jerk reactions and/or
irrational analysis of situations as well as with intent to make profits from security
Tourism Impact Assessment studies (TIAs): CRT has completed a TIA in Benaulim
and hopes to complete such studies in all the villages that it is working in by the end
of the next tourism season. The study is geared to:
• Assessing and analyzing how tourism in Goa impacts the coast and the
communities who live in the area
• Identifying issues that have a negative impact on the coastal ecology and
communities as a consequence of unbridled tourism
• Formulating strategies for a new tourism that will bring benefits to local
communities from tourism and protecting and enhancing the livelihoods of local
• Ensure that proper environmental standards are defined and maintained -
including matters such as overcrowding, keeping up coastal vegetation, garbage
disposal, noise pollution, excess traffic, waste management, etc
• Guaranteeing that hosts and visitors advance patterns of responsible tourism
• Ensuring that Goan culture and identity is preserved and enhanced in the tourism
A special training for about 35 community leaders was held in March 2008 in Margao.
Resource Persons were from EQUATIONS. CRT has been unable to complete more
studies on the coast line of Goa and should find ways and means of completing such
studies with institutions such TI5S, Nirmala's School of Social Work and Don Bosco
School of Social Work whose students are interested in doing such studies as part of
their field studies.
Protests against proposed casinos in Goa: Our community groups actively
joined wider protests against the Government's plans to license operation of
floating casinos along the coast of Goa. In a letter to the Chief Minister, they
pointed out how they felt betrayed and conveyed in no uncertain terms that
they do not trust in the CM's promises of clean governance. They asserted that
"as groups concerned about and involved in fighting the negative impacts
of gambling on our society, we support all the organizations that oppose the
licensing of floating casinos in the state of Goa. They emphatically stated that
they vehemently oppose the establishments of floating casinos anywhere in Goa.
Casinos, they stated, have already created social havoc; and there is fear that they
will draw youth and local people to squander their meager earnings on gambling.
This they argued would severely endanger the social fabric of Goa.
Campaigns for environmental protection have taken the form of public rallies
against the perceived attempt by big corporations to 'buy' off the Goa Coast. 'Our
Coast is Not for Sale' has been a rallying slogan. CRT has also carried out 17 awareness
events attracting people in large numbers to create awareness and opposition to the
Ministry of Environment and Forests' (MoEF) plans to impose a Coastal Management
Zone regime on the coastal states which would be against the interests of the people
and in effect, violate many of their fundamental rights. In this connection, several
special Gram Sabhas were convened and resolutions opposing the CMZ approved.
This has been a mass and state wide campaign. A mass rally and public meeting
brought together close to 1000 people from the coastal villages all across Goa in
Coastal Sarpanch Coalition: CRT has formed a Coastal Sarpanch Coalition and
has held several meetings to forge common approaches that effect people across
the coastal areas especially owing to tourism. CRT supported (& continues to
support)the Panchayats in contesting the High Court Directive on 26th September
2007 on CRZ matters. Our attempts have resulted in a stay and postponement of
all these issues until further study has been done. Meanwhile, with the community
groups, a sense of alertness prevails about potential government actions. The
Sarpanchs of many of Goa's coastal villages view the CRT as a useful rallying point
and information sharing.
Protecting local livelihoods: Guaranteeing that local communities are the first
beneficiaries of tourism was a matter of high priority for CRT. In one village, the
community group organized the local vendors to oppose licensing of outsiders seeing
that the latter practice was depriving the original settlers of the coasts' livelihoods.
Working with the local Panchayat, a resolution was adopted to protect their livelihood
rights. In addition, the women of the village were also formed into a self-help group.
The first attempt of this group was to initiate a savings cooperative.
Involving Panchayats/Gram Sabhas in contesting negative tourism
impacts: The Cansaulim community group organized the Gram Sabha members
to pass a resolution aimed at fighting the growth of big hotels and protection of
local resources. It must be noted that the big hotels more often than not operate
with detrimental effects to local communities. The resolution taken up by the
Gram Sabha read as follows:
"Goa is increasingly witnessing the growth of 5-star hotels and big resorts on its
coastline. All of these hotels and resorts arrive in Goa with promises of providing
employment to local people and helping to advance the economy of Goa. After over
20 years of seeing the operations of these hotels, Goans have concluded that:
• Only a marginal number of locals are employed by these hotels.
• The jobs provided to the locals are at the lower rung of the job categories.
• Outsiders are given preferential treatment in respect of appointments even when
there are equally qualified Goans for the job.
• People with traditional occupations have been displaced especially the fisher folk
and toddy tappers.
Moreover, these hotels violate other norms and traditions:
• Almost without exception they violate CRZ regulations with impunity.
• Most, if not all, dump garbage and sewage into the local agricultural fields and
even channel them into the sea, especially during the rainy season thus causing
irreversible environmental havoc and consequent health hazards and economic
• They use up water resources which should, as a matter of priority, be given to use
for local community uses - water is a basic need and when it is used wastefully
for lush lawns, water sports, swimming pools and golf courses, it is a violation of
• The above also applies to electricity. While local people must put up with power
shut downs with great frequency, the hotels and resorts use electricity wastefully
with total disregard for local consumption.
In view of the above, the Gram Sabha of Cansaulim resolves to:
• Immediately stop the licensing of any new hotels and expansion of 5-star hotels
and big resorts in our area.
• Encourage local entrepreneurship by urging the government to provide subsidies
and incentives for Goans to become hosts of tourists through small and medium
guesthouses and hotels owned and operated by local people.
• Immediately stop the licensing of any mega housing projects that often function
as rent backs and illegal housing for tourists.
• Guarantee the licensing of locals from the coastal belt as vendors and shack
owners on the coasts as a means of providing self employment to disadvantaged
Goans. (By providing such occupations to local people, the tourism industry will
be able to maintain standards that reflect Goan identity and particularity.)"
Resolution of the Gram Sabha for the Protection of the
Right to Livelihood of Vendors in Cavelossim
(through the Sarpanch of Cavelossim Panchayat)
CRT also enabled its community groups to work at protecting local livelihoods. After
a sustained campaign, mobilization and dialogue with the Panchayat and the local
church (a influential institution in Goa), the villagers went to the Gram Sabha with a
resolution which found unanimous approval.
"WHEREAS the Gram Sabha of the Cavelossim Panchayat recognizes that the coastal
areas of local inhabitants having fixed habitation in the coastal zone for many
generations having adapted the trades of fishing and toddy tapping for which natural
resources of this coastal zone have been responsibly utilized.
AND whereas owing to the industrialization arrival and pre-eminence of tourism on
this coastline the local inhabitants of Goan ancestry were deprived by their traditional
AND whereas the locals inhabitants of this coastal belt were forced to depend on
tourism related activities as a source of livelihood.
AND whereas tourism is the backbone of this coastal zone and a source of livelihood
for the business relating to vending products have increased tremendously.
AND whereas the possibilities for vending products that tourist need are not large
in number and it is being observed that persistent and forceful marketing of these
products is carried out by vendors through sales agents and that the tourists feel
harassed by the presence of an overwhelming number of vendors.
AND whereas the protection of local livelihoods should remain the prior responsibility
and concern of the Panchayat and other bodies responsible for the economic, social
and cultural advancement and protection of the people who are constituents of the
village of Cavelossim, namely the original inhabitants of the coast who are fisher folk,
toddy tappers and other such traditional occupations.
The Gram Sabha of the Cavelossim Panchayat resolves that:
• In matters of granting licenses to vendors on the beach that first preference is
given to traditional and longstanding occupants of the coastline of Cavelossim
since they have had to often give up other occupations in order to cater to
• The number of licenses granted to vendors on the beach should not at any time
exceed thirty (30) persons so as to ensure that there is no excessive competition
among vendors and the resultant social tensions and potential conflict.
• The policy of restricting vendors will also assist in avoidance of overcrowding
of the beach with the tourists who normally seek a quiet and relaxed holiday
• A zero-tolerance policy of sub-leasing of vending licenses will be imposed. Anyone
violating the conditions of licensing with regard to sub-leasing will have their
licenses revoked with immediate effect and be prohibited from re-applying for
such license for the coming three years.
• Vending products will be strictly restricted to the shops for which licenses are
issued and no sale of products through sales agents will be allowed nor will
independent sales persons be permitted to operate on the beaches.
• Any violation of item 5 will result in immediate and unconditional revocation of
their shop license and the said shop will be closed with immediate effect.
• New licensees for the closed shops will be sought through accepted Panchayat
• The Panchayat will assist local vendors by liaising with the Small and Medium
Industries and other relevant Departments of the Government of Goa to assist in
the training of seasonal vendors with off-season tradable skills.
• The Panchayat will ensure strict adherence to the above by appointing local security
personnel drawn from among young unemployed people in the village who will assist
police in preventing undue increase of the coastlines carrying capacity."
Cansaulim, Arrossim and Cuelim community groups mobilize citizens to
oppose Heritage Resorts Club expansion in the area.
In their fight against the imposition of big hotels and resorts in their area, citizens of
three villages persistently protested their licensing. They lobbied through awareness
campaigns, at the Panchayat level, and through their elected representatives. In the
specific case of the Heritage Village Club, they carried out a signature campaign and
hundreds of villagers signed up on a letter which said:
"We the undersigned citizens of Cansaulim, Arrossim and Cuelim areas strongly
protest and oppose the proposed expansion of the Heritage Village Club.
The following are the reasons for opposing the said expansion
• The resort is located within 200 to 500 m from the High Tide Line (HTL) which is
demarcated as No Development Zone according to the CRZ Notification
• The quantity of water used for a month by the population of village Panchayat
of Cansaulim - Arossim - Cuelim is 1 9440 cum. Heritage Resorts Club consumed
5012.70 cum. In a water stressed area such huge demand of water is bound to
create inequity in access to water.
• The resort has been discharging untreated solid wastes and effluents directly into
• Expansion does not support the traditional rights and customary uses of local
• The access road left by the resort is less then the prescribed 1 mts.
• Our beaches are common property resources and are being usurped by this hotel.
• Encroachment by the hotel will severely effect traditional fishing operations because
of extensive tourism activities. This attack on livelihoods is unacceptable.
• The distinct likelihood of water sports would affect the water quality by the
discharge of oil and grease.
Citizens did not simply protest. They used the Right to Information Act to compile
information and built up sound documentation around which they found valid
arguments with which to convince co-citizens and the authorities. The statistics
below pertaining to water and electricity consumption by hotels irked many a citizen
and galvanized the struggle - a successful one at the end of the day.
The quantity of water used month by the population of village Panchayat of Cansaulim -
Arossim-Cuelim is 19440 cum. Hotel Heritage consumed 5012.70 cum of water while Hotel
Park Hyatt consumed 36217 cum of water, which is almost double the requirement of the
Average Electricity per month by the population of village Panchayat of Cansaulim -Arossim-
Cuelim is 193832. Street light consumption per month average is 18653. Hotel Heritage
uses an average 135717 and Hotel Park Hyatt average consumption is 588530
Select Group of Hotels withdraws request for extension of expansion of a
Heritage Village Club in Arrossim: The Select Group of Hotels which the citizens
fought withdrew their petition against the Panchayat of C a nsau I im seeking permission
for an extension to the Heritage Village Club on the Arrossim Beach.
Since September 2007, the Cansaulim, Arrossim and Velsao Peoples Front for the
Protection of Environment had been agitating over the expansion of the Heritage
Village Club within an area notified as CRZ III under the CRZ Notification, 1991 issued
by MoEF. After much mobilization and mass awareness campaigns, the citizens had
decided to approach the High Court to gain some relief. Through their petition, the
citizens were seeking an order or direction in the nature of Certiorari quashing the
clearance granted by MoEF dated 1 5.08.2006 and the no objection granted by the
Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority.
The petitioners represented by Mr. Alfred Pereira De Andrade claimed a deep interest
in protecting coastal ecology and livelihoods of the coastal communities. Their petition
also sought to protect the cultural integrity of Goa and the green environment along
the coasts and within the villages. Citizen concerns were centered on environmental
issues especially those related to the protection of the coastal areas from haphazard
construction and which threaten to destroy the fragile coastline of Goa.
The citizens were represented by two well known lawyers, Mr. Mihir Desai, an
eminent lawyer with the High Court of Mumbai and Mr. Aagney Sail, a Supreme
Court Advocate specializing on environmental and labour laws. Both advocates are
associated to the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)- a national network of lawyers
and social activists concerned about and involved in issues of justice and human
rights. They argued that Select Holiday Resorts Pvt. Ltd. had claimed to have obtained
all requisite permission from the competent authorities for the expansion of the resort
in Survey No 1 1 3/3, 1 1 4/1 and 115/1 in Village Arossim, Mormugao Taluka. However,
the Panchayat of Village Arrossim, Cuelim and Cansaulim had declined to grant a
license for the resort in view of the letter sent by the Goa Coastal Zone Management
Authority (GCZMA). The High Court had ordered on 13-10-2006 that till the survey
and inquiry of all the dwelling units in CRZ-III areas is complete, no new structure of
whatsoever nature shall be allowed to be constructed in CRZ III Zone except repairs
In filing the writ petition the advocates also brought to the attention of the High
Court the blatant violations of the provisions of the CRZ Notification as well as false
and baseless averments made by the respondents while justifying their ecologically
and socially damaging expansion plans.
The citizens had earlier commissioned two specialist organizations to study the
extent of the adverse social and environmental impacts due to the violation of the
CRZ Notification - the rampant illegal construction, encroachment, pollution and
overall ecological changes as well as denial of access to the local communities to
the beaches and sea. The studies carried out by the Sudarshan Rodrigues of ATREE
( Asoka Trust for Research in Environment and Ecology) and EQUATIONS revealed that
encroachments of the beach by the Resort will affect the livelihood of the fishermen.
The space required by them for drying their nets, spreading fish for drying and selling,
parking their fishing boats and related activities gets seriously affected.
The studies on Heritage Village Club also showed that:
• That the resort is located within 200 to 500 m from the High Tide Line (HTL) which
is demarcated as "No Development Zone" according to the CRZ Notification
• The said resort had constructed permanent construction beyond and within the
200m from the HTL in violation of the CRZ III (ii) of the Notification;
• The construction is beyond and against the ambit of traditional rights and
customary uses which is in violation of CRZ III (iii) of the Notification.
• The resort had not left enough space for access to the beaches as prescribed in
Annexure II 7 (ix) of the CRZ Notification. Contrary to the prescribed 20 m, the
space left for public access to the beach is less than 1 0m.
• The resort had employed security guards to prevent local people from accessing
the beach area. The free movement of the local communities gets restricted
thereby affecting livelihood of the coastal communities who are predominantly
dependent on the coast for their living.
• The resort had put up barbed wire fences without any vegetative cover.
• The resort had also been discharging untreated solid wastes and effluents directly
into the sea. Moreover, dressing, altering and flattening of sand dunes had been
carried out for construction and fencing.
It is important to note that Goa is rich in the diversity of turtles and construction of
a holiday resort would disturb the fauna of the seashores. The report "Towards an
Integrated and Collaborative Sea Turtle Conservation Programme in India" reveals
that the status of sea turtle populations on the Maharashtra and Goa coasts of India
lists and classifies Arossim as a medium nesting potential area. Medium nesting
potential sites are less populated areas with sparse tourist activity.
There were other matters of serious social and environmental concern. It was noted
that Hotel Heritage already consumed 501 2.70 cum of water while Hotel Park Hyatt
consumed 36217 cum of water, which is almost double the requirement of the three
villages in the area. Such a situation was bound to create inequity in access to water
which is recognized as a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution and
a denial of the same is also a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
While Heritage Village Club claimed that all the proposed constructions are located
beyond 200 meters on the landward side from the High Tide Line (HTL), demarcated
by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), as per EQUATIONS report, permanent
structures had been constructed beyond and within 200 m of the HTL and permission
was being sought to extend the construction within the 200 m towards the seaward
side. Thus contrary to what the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority was
arguing, construction was being planned on the seaward side and not landward
side. It is stated that 'the plot area comprises of level land, devoid of sand dunes'.
However, the report mentions clearly that 'dressing, altering and flattening of sand
dunes' had been carried out for construction and fencing.
Heritage Village Club had also claimed that the Public Works Department (PWD) had
agreed to provide the required water supply to the project. However, a perusal of
the report of the PWD in May 2006 only provided for conditional clearance and also
mentions of an overall scarcity of water in the entire MormugaoTaluka. The statement
that the Electricity Department has certified the availability of power supply to the
project was also misrepresentation of facts. The letter from the Executive Engineer,
clearly stated that power supply shall be made available 'only on' commissioning of
the transformer at Verna Sub-Station and that work of commissioning of the power
transformer was under progress.
Public at large is the beneficiary of the seashore, running waters, air, forests and
ecologically fragile lands. The State as a trustee is under a legal duty to protect the
natural resources. These resources meant for public use cannot be concentrated into
Although, Heritage Village Club have reserved the right to appeal the decision of the
Panchayat to deny them permission to construct an extension to the resort higher
levels, the citizens of Cansaulim, Arrossim, and Velsao hope that they will respect the
rights and wishes of citizens in the area and thus show their concern for the integrity
of their cultural identities as well as respect for local livelihoods and safeguarding the
Organizing the people to oppose attempted clearing of
coastal villages of traditional coastal communities
(Initiative carried out in cooperation with HRLN-Goa and
Sudarshan Rodrigues, ATREE)
The coastal stretch of Goa is made up of diverse ecosystems - sand dunes, beaches,
wetlands, mangroves, estuaries, backwater lagoons and coral reefs. Settlements of
traditional people who inhabit these areas depend on coastal resources and seas for
their survival. They are increasingly being displaced or migrate into the hinterlands or
out of the State for survival.
Furthermore, several activities such as unregulated tourism, polluting industries,
infrastructure, aquaculture, sand mining and rapid urbanization pose serious
threats to the health of these ecosystems and to the lives and livelihoods of coastal
• Such projects need to be frozen with immediate effect. Tourism development has
taken a huge toll on Goa's coastal environment with violations mounting by the
day. The 'carrying capacity' of the coasts has far been exceeded due to tourism
and other related activities. Coastal ecosystems which are, inherently, fragile will
suffer irreversible and grave damage.
• At the same time, traditional communities are being blamed for all the chaos
while the reality is that the big hotels and resorts, and other commercial activities
are the real cause of the violations. While the rich and powerful- the real violators
of the coastal ecology will go scot free, there is an attempt, in the name of
coastal regulation, to displace and disadvantage traditional coastal communities
who owe their ancestry back to many hundred years. The bureaucracy and the
politician has targeted the traditional occupants of the coasts ignoring the fact
that some of what are termed illegalities by them do little or nothing to harm the
• A few years ago the state government identified over 1280 constructions that
defied the ban on construction within 200 meters of the high tide line. A number
of blatant violations of the C RZ Notification on the coast were meant to face the
axe. Hundreds of illegalities have escaped being demolished in the past with the
connivance of politicians. Obviously, they represent the interests of the political
class and the rich.
CRT decided to intervene on the side of the people on the understanding that the
CRZ Notification was introduced with three main principles that CRT would pursue
in its everyday work:
• The need to arrive at a balance between development needs and protection of
• Activities that are harmful for coastal communities and their environment should
be either prohibited or appropriately regulated.
• Coastal ecosystems are to be managed in a sustainable manner, so that the
livelihoods of millions will be protected and their survival guaranteed.
CRT argues that CRZ Notification, 1991 should be retained because it protects the
environment by setting high standards for its protection while recognizing that
island and coastal ecologies are fragile and requires close caring and attention;
the notification also guaranteed the livelihoods and rights of long standing coastal
communities. We do not need another notification which is as weak as what the
CRZ Notification has now become. What is needed is a solid law, driven by a totally
different approach - whether that should result in reverting to a better version of the
CRZ Notification, 1991 or in a completely new legislation for land use on coasts. CRT
campaigns for this new law and works at creating awareness on this with its various
In the context of the above, the question needs to be discussed as to why the High
Court of Bombay has given various directions with regard to compliance with CRZ
regulations. CRT studied the problems emanating from the Court directive, the
subsequent show cause notices that the Panchayats had to issue and the options
that lay before the people. Examining the High Court order as a necessary first step, a
meeting of CRT officials with Sarpanchs of Coastal Panchayats noted the following.
• On 26th September 2007 the High Court of Bombay in Goa based on suo moto
Writ Petition No 2 of 2006 gave various directions with regard to compliance of
CRZ Regulations. In summary, these included:
o Identifying structures existing on 19/2/1991 based on survey maps prepared
by Directorate of Settlement and Land Records. This may also be done by
reference to existing survey plans under the Land Revenue Code and on
the basis of permissions/ licenses issued by the respective Panchayats /
o In respect of structures not identified as existing prior to 1991 notices were
to be issued to owners and occupants to show cause why the said structure
should not be demolished as having been constructed in the No Development
o Panchayats and Municipalities were authorized to take a decision based on
written replies or personal hearings within 90 days of serving notice.
o If a said structure was not ascertained as pre-1991 and no stay was sought
with a higher authority then the structure would be liable for demolition
within 60 days from the date of the serving of final decision on the owner or
occupants. Furthermore if Panchayats/ Municipalities observe structures that
have been validly constructed or repaired with permission of CRZ authorities
the above directions will not apply.
o The Panchayats were also directed to monitor that no new structures should
come up in the NDZ and if any new construction was detected then the
Panchayat/ Municipality had to take immediate action in accordance with
• Panchayats and Municipalities were expected to file affidavits in the High Court
by the 1 1th July 2008 indicating:
o Total number of structures in the 200 meters zone as per Maps provided
o Number of structures found to be existing as of 1 9/02/1 991
o Number of structures to whom notices have been issued
• In view of the fact that the maps provided to the Panchayats were survey maps
prepared by the Director of Settlement and Land Records and were completed in
1 974, the maps did not provide a basis for ascertaining whether the structures in
the 0-200 meters NDZ were there before 1 991 .
• The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) who were requested to supply
satellite maps overlaying cadastral maps as of 1990 informed that their maps
were on a scale of 1 :50,000. This was seen as an absurdly impossible resolution
from which to identify structures.
• Requests made to GCZMA for satellite maps overlaying cadastral maps of 1 990 were
turned down on the ground that "this office does not have satellite maps overlaying
cadastral maps for the year 1990.... However, satellite data pertaining to the year
1991 up to 2006 overlaid on cadastral map (one copy) was available for reference".
The absence of adequate records and maps with the appropriate authorities made it
difficult- even impossible- to meet the requirements of the High Court directive sent
to coastal inhabitants through the various Panchayats.
Options explored on the basis of legal advice:
• The Sarpanch of each village which had been issued the directive from the High
Court was encouraged to argue that they had no way of reasonably checking out
the facts and claims of individuals unless they had the aerial maps of 1990 with
a reasonable resolution- unlike the one which the NIO is able to offer them. (The
GCZMA has the responsibility to provide such maps to the Panchayats and this
was to be insisted on).
• Since tax records e.g. house tax, boat tax, distillery tax, are not always - and no
longer- available in the Panchayat offices, it should be necessary to assist people
who do not have valid documents to prove their bona fides through reasonable
affidavits and methods of certifying that their houses were in existence.
• People on the coast had often added extensions to their homes for reasons of common
sense but without applying for legal licenses and/or permissions. In view of the fact that
many, if not most, of these extensions do not violate eco-systems, they should be allowed
to stand, with proviso only to pay a penalty and regularize the said illegality.
Application of extension of time for submission of requisite documents
• Additionally, the Court should be requested for an extension of three months so
that Panchayats can examine records, give occupants an opportunity for personal
hearings, and verify from various sources the authenticity of structures said to be
in existence before 1 991 .
• The Court should provide the requested extension to allow Panchayats to also
allowa CRZ specialist from a reputed organization in the independent social sector
to study each case of 'illegality' and make recommendations for the Panchayat to
supports its arguments and decisions.
• The Panchayats may hasten the collection of available records so that the new
deadline being requested can be met.
• A uniform draft reply was prepared taking into account:
o The papers already submitted by any Panchayat to the Court or any other
o The ongoing debate and deliberations at Central government level on the
o Constitutional obligations and provisions which are protective of coastal
livelihoods and traditional rights.
Constitutional bases for the reply to the directive were identified and Sarpanchs
were made aware of these bases so that they could brief their own lawyers. These
provisions, it was felt, would make their case strong.
The supremacy of Self-governance
Panchayat bodies are local bodies enjoying the powers specified under Article 243
of the Constitution of India, Article 243-G(b) - provides the powers, authority
and responsibilities of Panchayat pertaining to the implementation of schemes for
economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them including
those on relation to the matters listed in the 1 1th Schedule.
Under Provisions of Article 243-G the legislature of the State may by law endow the
Panchayat with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to
function as institutions of self-government and these laws are not specified to be laid
down by the legislature.
As provided in the 11th Schedule a whole range of subjects are included which
can provide development and social justice to village communities. For example,
serial no 5 Fisheries and serial no. 10 Rural Housing - these are areas wherein the
livelihood of the local community associated with fisheries and their dwelling abodes
are protected. In both these cases — as in the case of a multiple range of welfare and
development activities, the Panchayat body has powers to implement schemes that
protect local livelihoods and rights. In substance, it can be argued that the Panchayats
are empowered with powers to obtain social justice under the 1 1th schedule.
Serial No. 29 also empowers the Panchayats to the maintenance of community
assets such as water, lakes, coast etc. which ought to be enforced and maintained
without restricting local rights of housing. Housing is an integral part of life and
livelihood. Just as a pavement dweller is entitled to protection, more so are the
age-old traditional communities which form an integral part of the environment.
The coast is not merely a geographical space. It has as its occupant's people and
nature and they have lived in perfect harmony until recent patterns of industrial
development and the arrival of tourism.
Article 21 - provides for protection of life and personal liberty. Article 21 also
comprehends right to shelter.
Article 39 - provides for equal distribution the resources of the community best to
serve the common good.
Article 48-A - Provides for the protection and improvement of environment and
safeguard of forests and wildlife and a duty is cast upon the state to endeavor to
protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of
Article 51A (g) - provides that the fundamental duty of every citizen of India is
to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and
wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
The issues of CRZ-CZM are beginning to assume complex dimensions with the
central government assuming even more aggressive postures on tourism. In a recent
announcement, the central government has stated its intention to open up 'beach
tourism' to visitors to India in a big way. Currently, CRT is working with HRLN in
a litigation process which seeks to protect 108 individuals who have been served
demolition notices to their houses in coastal villages and is also actively supporting 5
Panchayats in their attempt to protect their people from the High Court Orders that
can leave nearly 12,000 people or more disadvantaged. Hearings are in process and
with government help it is highly possible that we will win the sympathy of the High
Court and establish the need to rethink their orders.
Opposing the MoEF's
draft CMZ notification
CRT also worked with seven Panchayats through mass awareness campaigns on the
draft CMZ notification. CRT was successful in getting all the Panchayats to adopt
resolutions rejecting the MOEF's proposals for a CMZ regime. CRT also lobbied
with the State government and was instrumental in getting the Goa Assembly to
unanimously oppose the CMZ proposals of the Central government. HRLN is also
representing several Panchayats which have decided to challenge High Court rulings
on the understanding that entire community rights are at stake. These are all village
panchayats with which CRT has been working.
Identical resolutions were approved by Special Gram Sabhas convened to deal
with the issue of the draft CMZ notification following village-level mass awareness
campaigns by CRT in Calangute, Agonda, Cavelossim, Cansaulim and Anjuna during
The resolutions stated:
"We the people of ( ) resolve to oppose the DRAFT CMZ Notification,
2008 for the following reasons:
• The CMZ Notification 2008 offers no real protection to the coasts. It has ignored
many judicial orders and needs comprehensive review based on a consultative
process at the level of coastal communities.
• Where as the earlier CRZ Notification, 1991 provided a clear regulation the CMZ
notification provided an 'ICZMP' which has no deadline for completion. All clear
restrictions are now replaced by broad and obscure guidelines incomprehensible
to the common man making it more difficult for coastal and fisher people - largest
stakeholders and custodians of our coastal resources to intervene or play a role
Livelihoods are not really safeguarded by this notification. The notification ushers
in new players on the coast and in light of the newly proposed Resettlement
and Rehabilitation Act and the new Land Acquisition Act; this has disastrous
consequences for fishers, many of whom do not possess any land records even.
Coastal Panchayats with more than 400 persons per sq km will now be declared
as CMZ II areas. This means that many of the earlier CRZ III categories would
now become CMZ II which doesn't have a No Development Zone of 200m. This
NDZ was created in the original CRZ Notification to ensure that only appropriate
forms of development take place in these regions. By putting these areas under
CMZ II, the precautionary principle and livelihood protection measures that were
applicable to CRZ III areas (to restrict urbanization pressures and ensure livelihood
security, rights and access of coastal communities) have been done away with.
The MoEF has shown its inability to resist development pressure in the preamble of
this notification which modified in the so-called 'amendment' that allows 'green
field' airports and the expansion and modernization of existing airports in coastal
areas. Airports are not critical from a livelihood point of view and are known to
have large impacts for environments particularly coastal environment.
The activities in this notification will be determined by setbacks which are based
on human vulnerability. In densely populated areas, the precautionary principle
needs to be demonstrably strong. No development projects should be allowed
unless proven to be beneficial to the local people or proven to be environmentally
benign. The current notification is regressive when compared to the CRZ, 1991
version as it allows large scale development in all the zones.
The setback line is preferentially used in the cases of housing and settlements of
coastal communities but not for other activities such as tourism and recreation
facilities which have the same vulnerability as housing and settlements. There is
no mechanism of transparency, accountability and participation when drawing up
the setback line. This line is supposed to be based on the concept of vulnerability
including both natural and manmade hazards.
The objectives of this notification refer to "sustainable development" through
"sustainable coastal zone management practices", based on "sound scientific
principles" and "sustainable livelihoods security" and "conservation of ecologically
and culturally significant coastal resources", but the subsequent clauses contain
no indication whatsoever of how these objectives will be achieved.
The notification allocates responsibilities to a range of agencies - the local
authorities - Village Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies or Other Authorities, National
and State Coastal Zone Management Authorities, State Governments, National
Board for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management, Scientific Institutions and the
Central Government itself. There is also no mention of an appellate system for
disputes related to decisions taken by these authorities.
• The proposed CZM Notification is different from the CRZ Notification, 1991 in
that it contains absolutely no monitoring mechanism, except for stating that the
SCZMAs are responsible for monitoring the ICZMPs but without any indication
of how. Also, there are absolutely no procedures laid out for the clearance of
projects mentioned in the notification. The proposed notification does not ensure
any of its objectives of sustainable development or livelihoods or conservation.
• Though the new notification has expanded the list of ecological sensitive areas
from those in the CRZ Notification, there is no protection and conservation of
CMZ I areas as they are no longer 'no development zones'. The CRZ I areas under
the CRZ Notification were initially defined as areas where no activities would be
permitted. The proposed CMZ Notification builds on this regressive trend and
establishes that various activities will be allowed in these sensitive ecosystems as
long as they are recorded in the 'Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans'
(ICZMP). The definition, criteria, guidelines, methodology and scope of such
ICZMPs are not elaborated in the notification and neither are there any rules or
parameters for who should prepare ICZMPs.
The demand of the people of our village through the Panchayat is to bring in a
process for coastal law-making through which a law is made that should result in
a completely new legislation for land use on coasts in consultation with local self
government, local communities and which protects the rights of local communities,
their dwellings, and their livelihoods.
Towards a People-Centered Beach
Cleaning Programme in Goa
In collaboration with the Tourism department, CRT is implementing a Beach Cleaning
Programme covering three areas in the North (the stretch Baga-Calangute-Candolim
stretch) and the stretch from Arrosim to Colva (a total of nearly 1 5 kms of coastline).
The project commenced in January 2009 and will carry on for the entire year. Origi-
nally, the Tourism department asked CRT to take up the work as a mere 'beach clean-
ing' project without any of the environmental dimensions being looked into. Follow-
ing dialogue, CRT insisted that it could undertake the exercise only on the condition
that the project itself has wider dimensions including environmental awareness and
based on community involvement.
At the moment, the project involves some 40 workers (all coastal inhabitants) for
whom the work provides much needed additional income. It has also attracted
volunteers and tourist support. Hopefully, it will grow into a programme of greater
depth and increased dimensions in the next year.
With over 22 lakh tourists visiting Goa every year, Goa's beaches face the challenge
of having to cope with various sorts of garbage that are strewn all over the coastal
areas. The impact of excess garbage is negative and has many hazardous effects for
Goa - its coastal communities and the coastal ecology. It is argued that solid and
liquid wastes have the potential to create rising sea levels. That, in turn, can easily set
off storms and waves that can cause damage to properties and take lives.
Additionally, the high quantum of waste creates health risks. The presence of a large
number of stray dogs on beaches is a serious problem. Moreover, the accumulation
of waste on the coasts raises a stench that discourages people from moving around
freely and this can have an adverse effect on the number of visitors who might drop
Goa as a preferred destination.
Garbage on the beach is a situation extremely dangerous to the health of the entire
population as well as to visitors. If it continues, Goa will find itself in the position of
Surat when in 1994 it was struck with a plague epidemic - a disease from the Dark
Ages. The vector is usually rat fleas, and as we all know, where there is garbage,
there are rats. Other diseases also occur under such conditions, particularly when
water sources are contaminated, none of them pleasant. In addition, numerous other
problems have collected on the once beautiful beaches of Goa. They are deemed as
toxic and of a nature that can cause serious health damage.
Creating employment for the unemployed: A beach cleaning programme for
Goa can well provide employment for young unemployed men and especially for
women. By working for two hours in the early hours of the morning, an hour at mid
day during high season and two hours towards late evening, a quick round up of the
garbage can easily be managed.
By providing hygienic hand gloves and masks, persons who are thus employed are
secured from health risks and not only gain much needed supplementary income for
their families, but also engage in an activity of great environmental importance.
Coastal Clean up Day: The plan seeks to engage students/NSS volunteers Scouts
and Guides in a massive one-week exercise to maintain our shoreline and our
status as the 'Pearl of the Orient'. The Coastal Cleanup Day should seek to bring
out thousands of students with the focus being on coastal protection and might
also include planting vegetation that can enhance the coast. Youth involvement
has the potential for lasting consciousness in young minds and sustainable beach
The Coastal Cleanup Day can be a hands-on interactive environmental experience, which
is as enjoyable as it enhances beachside communities by promoting personal initiative,
civic pride and environmental awareness. Through competition and awards, the program
provides recognition to people who care for their community and coastal environment.
Management of waste materials: The beaches of Goa will be installed with
waste disposal bins on the sand, which permit four types of selective waste collection
- bio-degradable and non degradable waste. The four types of selective garbage
collection will include paper, glass, containers and organic waste. The containers are
to be kept in attractive and prominent colours such as yellow, green, brown and blue
(coastal colours) and be well covered.
At information points, beach users may be given plastic ashtrays to dispose of
cigarette butts, as well as dried fruit shells, chewing gum and other small waste
products. Each shack should be mandated to maintain hygienic disposal bins and use
their recyclable waste to vegetate the coastline.
Public Awareness: Large sign boards in prominent places at the entrance to the
beach, and in shacks, as well as using boards using bamboo and wood on the beach
with creative slogans to draw attention to the need for preserving the cleanliness of
• The scientific community in Goa - institutions like the National Institute of
Oceanography, and relevant departments of the University- would be involved in
testing and analyzing quality of the sand and water.
• Concessions should be granted in respect of shacks based on sustainable criteria
such as: the use of reusable glasses, the consumption of loose products, energy
efficiency, in conjunction with credible environmental awareness campaigns for
such things as the reuse of dirty water and the training of the bar staff in good
Noise Control/Pollution: Shacks would be installed with a noise control device,
in order to make the music compatible with the public who do not want noise, and
to respect neighbours. Noise levels should be adjusted for different times of the day
and should be in consonance with the law. Shacks situated at less than 100 m from
residential dwellings will be disallowed from loud music.
Coastal waters: Every day, an ocean cleaning vessel, would collect floating solid
litter up to the distance that users tend to swim and play in.
Citizen audits: Each summer, the beaches of Goa would receive visits from
- environmentalists and concerned citizens/community leaders, who carry out
environmental informative and awareness tasks among users and perform visual
inspections/audit of the services, with the aim of detecting any possible problems
and to ensure rapid reversal of the problems. It is one thing to be able to predict
when beach pollution levels are going to be high, but the better thing would be able
to know what the source of the problem is so that can be fixed at that stage itself.
This plan is not quite implemented as conceived because the Department of Tourism
has failed to make good its share of commitment - financial - and to the content
orientation. CRT continues its work despite the failed promises seeing how crucial
the work itself is.
Code of Ethics for Responsible Tourism
Tourism is too often seen merely as an arena where the rich meet their hedonistic
pleasures. Self-indulgence is what often defines the tourist behaviour and practice.
In a similar vein, the host of the tourist is blinded by the prospect of profit and goes
all out to satisfy the every whim and fancy of the tourist. In the bargain, there are
huge and lasting impacts - largely negative - that can affect the host community, their
environment, the workers, the cultures, and the self-esteem of the visited.
This trend needs to be reversed and a paradigm shift in the patterns of tourism must
be brought about to ensure that there is a mutuality about tourism. The questions
uppermost in the minds of tourism planners and policy makers must be: Who
benefits from tourism? What impacts does tourism have on local cultures and the
environment? Do the benefits of tourism get equitably distributed? Do the smaller
sectors get justice in the economic relationships or are the gains cornered by the
powerful entrepreneurs from within and outside?
In response to these questions and issues, CRT proposed a Model Code of Conduct
to local groups to be enforced in some concrete and measurable form so as to avoid
the negative pitfalls from tourism.
The following were suggested codes as they apply to different sectors.
Code of Ethics for the Industry:
• Sustainable Tourism
• Commit to excellence in the quality of tourism and hospitality experiences
provided to our clients through a motivated and caring staff
• Encourage an appreciation of and respect for, our natural, cultural and aesthetic
heritage among our clients, staff, and stakeholders and within our communities
• Respect the values and aspirations of our host communities and strive to provide
services and facilities in a manner which contributes to community identity, pride,
aesthetics and the quality of life of residents
• Strive to achieve tourism development in a manner which harmonises economic
objectives with the protection and enhancement of our natural, cultural and
• Be efficient in the use of all natural resources, manage waste in an environmentally
responsible manner, and strive to eliminate or minimise pollution in all its forms
• Lobby forthe tourism industryand other industries, towardsthe goal of sustainable
development and an improved quality of life for all
• Support tourists in their quest for a greater understanding and appreciation of
nature and their neighbours in the global village
Responsible Tourism in Destinations
• Shaping sustainable spaces into better places
• Minimize negative economic, environmental, and social impacts
• Generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhance the well-being
of host communities, improve working conditions and access to the industry
• Involve local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
• Make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage,
to the maintenance of the world's diversity
• Provide more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful
connections with local people and a greater understanding of local cultural, social
and environmental issues
• Provide access for physically challenged people
• Culturally sensitivity engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds
local pride and confidence
Ethical Code for Tourists
• Urge tourists to discover their destination - get them to read about the cultural,
social and political background of the place and people they are visiting
• Compel them to pay fair prices - When they haggle for the lowest price their
bargain is at someone else's expense
• Encourage them to be sensitive to local culture - dress and act in a way that
respects local beliefs and customs, particularly at religious sites
• Insist that they ask permission before taking photographs of individuals of people's
homes - and remind them that they may be expected to pay for the privilege
• Remind them to 'Open their mind to other cultures and traditions' - It will
transform their experience, earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local
people. Ensure they are tolerant and respect diversity - observe social and cultural
traditions and practices
• Combat the sexual exploitation of human beings, particularly the exploitation of
Guiding Principles for Social Responsibility
• Actively involve the local community in planning and decision-making and provide
capacity building to make this a reality.
• Assess social impacts throughout the life cycle of the operation - including the
planning and design phases of projects - in order to minimize negative impacts
and maximize positive ones.
• Endeavor to make tourism an inclusive social experience and to ensure that there
is access for all, in particular vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and
Our work has also brought us in working contact with various sectors such as the shack
owners, taxi associations, vendors, small and medium guest houses and hotels, and
various other sub-sectors of tourism. These are the people who are the real engines
of the tourism industry. Our intent is to work in solidarity with them to strengthen
their capacities to be determinants and practitioners of responsible hospitality to the
tourist. At the same time, it is our hope that we can pursue policies and practices
through which the economic benefits of tourism accrue to local communities first
and last. These initiatives are described in detail later in this report.
Shack Owners Welfare Society-
Goa (SOWS-Goa) and CRT
(This policy was accepted by the government with some revisions.
SOWS intends pursuing a more complete acceptance of the
policy for the 2009-2010 season)
Up on the invitation of the Shack Owners Welfare Society- Goa (SOWS-Goa), CRT
worked with their representatives and the Economics Advisory Group of CRT to
develop a just and comprehensive Beach Shack policy for the licensing of shacks
under the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa.
Shack owners made the suggestions contained in their policy based on the
understanding and claim that "in accordance with our ancestral rights to the coast
and our constitutional right to livelihood, and in order to stimulate the local economy
and promote safe and environmentally conscious tourism related practices for the
general welfare of the coastal community of the State of Goa.
Shack as source of self-employment/small entrepreneurship
As a matter of introduction to the policy, SOWS and CRT underlined how "the
shack business started in the 1960's in Goa and how traditional fisher folk were the
pioneers of this business; selling soft drinks and food to the tourists on the beach."
They underlined that "in more ways than one, shacks became the corner stone and
a unique aspect of the tourism industry in Goa." They pointed out that "the inherent
hospitality instincts of the coastal communities made Goa a very attractive destination
for tourists from all over the world."
Calling for action and positive responses from the government as a matter of justice,
SOWS-CRT argued that "with tourism altering livelihood patterns on the coast, fisher
folk, toddy tappers and others who lost their traditional livelihoods to tourism found
an alternate means of making a living from tourism through the shack business.
The shack not only typified the best aspects of Goan hospitality; it also provided the
tourist a space where they could encounter Goan culture through authentic food
Today, there are around 370 traditional shack owners who are totally dependent on the
shack business for their livelihoods. In view of prudent coastal management (ensuring that
the carrying capacity of the coast is not exceeded by overcrowding) and in accordance
with CRZ regulations, the government has restricted the number of shacks.
Staking their claims to maintaining the shack business exclusively for coastal
communities, the policy emphasizes that traditional shack owners by nature tend
to protect the coast being its inhabitants; hence they use sustainable environmental
practices such as recycling of materials used for the shacks, use of local materials and
resources and adopting generally environmentally friendly practices. Also, because
traditional shack owners are familiar with the coast and the economic resources
available they are able to provide authentic food at moderate prices which is an
attraction to the tourist.
What follows are highlights of the policy which, as earlier pointed out, have been
met by and large by the government with the hope that the coming year will see
1. Licensing policy
a) Licenses for 90% of Beach Shacks will be allocated to traditional shack owners
exclusively and will be valid for a period of five years, with priority given to those
holding licenses for the longest number of years. In such cases, automatic renewal of
licenses should be accorded provided the licensee has not violated provisions of the
law and other regulations that are drawn up from time to time.
A seniority based licensing system will provide a degree of permanence and security
and thereby be conducive to promoting better shack management, regulation and
environmental compliance. A senior shack owner who can rely on being granted a
license will invest in higher quality durable technology to manage utilities and waste,
and will take greater care of both tourists and the cleanliness of the beach in order to
sustain his/her livelihood. The current lottery based allocation system creates undue
hardship on experienced shack owners who are faced with the uncertainty of not
being able to earn a livelihood.
b) Each year, 10% of shack licenses will be granted to new applicants based on a
lottery system. However, in keeping with the notion of coastal communities as hosts
of the coastal areas, the licensees will be given to coastal inhabitants.
2. Ban on sub-leasing
The Department of Tourism will strictly enforce section 9 of the licensing agreement,
which prohibits the subletting of shacks. The Department of Tourism will also
incorporate into the licensing agreement a regulation prohibiting the sale or
assignment of a Beach Shack License. The enforcement of these regulations will
prevent corrupt practices and the ownership of beach shacks by non-residents who
may not have the natural instincts to maintain the coast and hence not the best
interests of the coast in mind.
3. Ban on foreigners working on or running shacks
A total ban on foreigners running or operating shacks as workers should be
4. Rejection of licenses
If a license is denied, the applicant will be given just cause as to why his/her application
has been rejected. The Department of Tourism will establish a non-biased appeal
committee with oversight of the licensing committee. The committee will include
senior members of the Tourism Department not associated with the licensing board.
An applicant will be given an opportunity to appeal the decision of the licensing
authority by petitioning the appeal committee. The appeal committee will weigh the
petition against the recommendation of the licensing board in the presence of the
petitioner in a committee meeting open to the public. If the applicant loses his or her
appeal, the applicant will be refunded the application fee within 15 days from the
date of unsuccessful bid.
5. Dual sources of employment
Neither the applicant's employment status nor the employment status of any member
of the applicant's family will preclude an applicant from obtaining a license. The
increased involvement in the economy by more members of the public fosters local
6. Cost of application forms
The cost of the application forms, which has increased from Rs.10 to Rs. 5000 over
the last ten years, will be reduced to Rs. 500, a rate that reflects the normal inflation
rate of the economy of Goa over the corresponding period.
7. Site Plan
The Department of Tourism will maintain a concrete site plan for shacks and
transparently allocate shack locations based on the site plan. The site plan will
include locations on the boundaries of private resorts. The establishment of a site
plan will stimulate the local economy and aid in management of site maintenance,
environmental compliance, waste, and utilities to include water and power
8. Procedure for applications and licensing including time lines
The government will formulate a draft policy based on the proposals contained in this
representation. The following time line and procedures are suggested in this regard.
• Draft policy of government should be made available to Shack Owners Welfare
Society by July 15th, 2008
• Suggestions to the draft policy shall be solicited and responses must be submitted
by the 31st July, 2008
• The "Working Group on Shack Policy" (See point 13 below) will then review the
suggestions received and a final policy will be announced before 10th August,
• Applications for licenses will then be advertised by the 1 5th August 2008
• Last date for receiving applications will be 25th August, 2008
• The Working Group will then meet to finalize allotments by the 5th September,
2008 and successful applicants will be informed within 5 days. (Early allocation
will provide maximum earning potential for shack owners while allowing all
government agencies sufficient time to ensure shack owners are complying with
licensing agreements and environmental regulations).
9. Beach beds as a source of additional self-employment
The Department of Tourism, in association with environmentalists and NGOs, will
assess the carrying capacity of tourists of coastal villages. Based on this assessment,
the number of Deck/Beach Beds will be limited to a reasonable amount for shack
owners. Hoteliers and private property owners will be prohibited from providing
10. Cooking on the beaches/shacks
Shack owners will be allowed to provide full restaurant services within their
facilities to include food preparation and cooking. In order to protect the
health and safety of shack owners, their employees and guests, the shack
owner will maintain kitchen facilities for cooking and food preparation in
compliance with all current health and safety codes. All facilities will be
inspected and certified by the Department of Public Health prior to operation
and periodically throughout the term of the license. Appropriate licenses will
also be obtained from the Directorate of Food and Drug administration and
the Department of Fire services.
All reasonable regulations stipulated by the above mentioned government
departments will be strictly adhered to.
11. Licenses for alcoholic beverages
All shacks wishing to serve alcoholic beverages will require applying for and
obtaining necessary licenses from the Department of Excise as per the provision
of the Excise Laws.
The Government will provide the shack owners with easy and ready access to water
and electricity and adequate and timely procedures for obtaining the same. Equipment
for waste removal shall be provided by the relevant government department.
13. Working Group on Shack Policy
In order to democratize the procedure of licensing of shacks, towards a participatory
process of tourism management through shacks, to increase the level of responsibility
of shack owners for viable and sound coastal management and responsible tourism,
we propose that the Department of Tourism establish a Working Group on Shack
Policy which will work on a Public-Private partnership model for greater accountability
on both sides for the common good of tourists and local communities who serve the
tourists. The working group could comprise of:
• Three senior officials from the Department of Tourism
• One official of the Ministry of Food and Drug Administration.
• Two representatives of organizations involved with responsible tourism.
• President and three other representatives of the SOWS; one each from among
shack owners in the North, South and Central area and Minister of Tourism or his
representative will be the Chairperson of the group
Proposals for Responsible Shack Management and Operation
The members of the SOWS as residents of the coastal community and as coastal
business owners have a commitment to the health and safety of their guests and
employees and in the maintenance of the coastal ecosystem. In line with this
assertion, it is proposed that shack owners will also undertake responsibilities in
tourism as follows:
1. Waste management
Shack owners, in coordination with the Department of Tourism and the Village
Panchayats will maintain adequate facilities for the disposal of sewage, waste water,
and both non-bio-degradable and bio-degradable refuse. The SOWS in cooperation
with CRT and under Government supervision will provide training to all shack owners
regarding the responsibilities listed above.
2. Environmental standards
Shack owners will promote and comply with all environmental regulations including
matters such as noise pollution.
3. Hygiene and Health Standards
The SOWS undertakes to prepare a booklet containing guidelines and instructions
to be followed scrupulously by all shack owners so as to maintain hygiene and
4. Provision of changing rooms for tourists
The SOWS will provide changing facilities for bathers at their collective costs.
5. Life guard stations at Shack Owners costs
The SOWS will manage all lifeguard stations on the coast. Shack owners will share
the responsibility for staffing each station with government trained lifeguards from
dawn until dusk for the duration of the season. Lifeguards will be treated as the
employees of the SOWS and costs for the purchase of government approved rescue
equipment will be borne by the Department of Tourism.
6. Crime Monitoring with Police cooperation
All members of the SOWS will aid the police in combating crime with the particular
focus of preventing the sale and use of illegal drugs and narcotics and protecting
children from pedophilia, and the abuse and exploitation of women in the tourism
arena. The failure of a shack owner to notify the police of any witnessed illegal
activity within their shack premises and on the coastline will result in the levying of
heavy fines on the offending shack owner.
7. Self regulation
The SOWS will create a "Self-regulation Committee" which shall monitor activities of
the shacks and ensure compliance of the Responsible Shack Management policy. This
forum will include SOWS office bearers and representatives of the CRT.
As an attempt to self-enforce environmental standards, SOWS planned a training on
waste management for owners and workers of all licensed shack owners in Goa in
collaboration with CRT. It was agreed that in the interests of Responsible Tourism and
a clean-green environment, every licensed shack owner of Goa's tourist industry also
needs to be responsible hosts. This programme assumed added importance because
the Department of Tourism had earlier launched a 'Beach Cleaning' initiative with
CRT. That programme was based on the recognition that the spillage of solid and
liquid wastes on the coastline can have severe long term impacts on the coastal
Unfortunately, for various reasons, the plan was not implemented and many
people living alongside the coast complain that the shacks are a source
of much garbage and noise pollution in some of the more crowded areas.
This is a lacuna that needs to be addressed right in the licensing regime.
Community groups recommend that violators of environmental standards
should be denied licenses at least for a certain number of years as a deterrent
to others. Additionally, it is felt that the government and panchayats are
unable to manage monitoring either because of inadequate personnel or
owing to corrupt practices. Only a citizen-based monitoring mechanism and
self-regulation can produce the needed results.
Compensation to Shack Owners for the season 2008-2009
In the context of a poor season marred by the so-called Mumbai 'terror attack', SOWS
and CRT visited the Chief Minister as a delegation to ask for compensation to shack
owners for the season 2008-2009 for financial losses incurred by them. In a letter
submitted to the Chief Minister, Shri Digambar Kamat, on December 28, 2008, they
wrote: "As you are fully aware, the tourist season for this year (2008-2009) has been
very lean. There has been a drop of almost 50% tourists so far. The consequence has
been that we, shack owners have met with very heavy losses.
Shack business is our only livelihood and if we cannot earn during the season, we have
no other ways of feeding ourselves and our families and educating our children.
The peak of Christmas and New Year period is almost over- the time when we
make the bulk of our earnings. The opportunity is lost and we cannot hope to
compensate our losses no matter what we do. What we have lost is huge and
we fear for our security during the non-season. Besides, we have to live with the
stringent condition that we cannot hold other jobs or businesses and if we do
that our licenses are not issued.
You are aware as to the reasons for our losses. They are beyond our control. This
is why we come to you in appeal to provide us appropriate relief in the form of
compensation for the losses we have had to bear.
At an average, we would have earned at least 1-1.5 lakhs in the high season. The
minimum we expect by way of compensation is a reimbursement of the application fee
of Rs 30,000 plus an ad hoc amount of Rs 25,000 to each licensed shack owner.
If we had a normal season, we would have paid in taxes to the government and that
amount alone would exceed 90 lakhs. We hope the government will support us in
our bad times and help us with the requested compensation.
At this time, we also wish to thank the government for its prompt security actions
which have kept us - the local people and the tourists safe. We are sure that the next
season will once again be thriving.
We urge your swift action which will send a message to the people that you are truly
a CM of the 'aam aadmi'.
SOWS and CRT expect a compensation to be effected when the fee structure for the
next season (2009-201 0) is determined. Hopefully, a waiver of fee for 2009-201 will
be the decision they will get.
Federation of Associations of
Tourist Taxi Owners and Drivers (FATTOD)
CRT organized the Associations of Tourist Taxi Owners and Drivers in South and North
Goa and worked with them to develop a proposed Operational Policy for them,
FATTOD was created as an independent association free of any political affiliation.
It was recognized that previous unions of tourist taxi operators had failed because
of political interference and affiliations on the part of the unions. Hence, the view
that an independent federation of existing associations (related to stands at hotels)
The process started with meeting with leaders of various associations mostly in South
Goa. Having gained their inputs and commitment, CRT then convened meetings
of larger groups of taxi driver associations in South Goa and through dialogue and
discussion came up with the elements for a new policy proposal for tourist taxi drivers
and owners. The Economics Advisory Group of CRT once again worked on a series
of drafts which were reviewed by Association leaders. Multiple meetings were held
and when consensus was achieved among the associations in the South, the North
of Goa was also mobilized. Support from the taxi drivers from all across Goa was
positive. A large representative gathering of some 700 taxi owners and drivers from
the various associations met in Pillar to adopt their policy and develop a strategy
for its implementation. In addition, office bearers and an Executive Committee was
elected and duly met for training on 'Managing FATTOD'.
The policy that FATTOD submitted to the government met with "on principle"
approval from the government. But there remains a difficult & tough tussle between
tour operators and the taxi association. Tour Operators are refusing to yield grounds
to the taxi drivers as the principle means of moving tourists around.
Tourist taxi owners & taxi drivers argue that they, who constitute a significant part
of the local population employed in tourism and provide an essential, dedicated
and preferred transport service, should be given an equitable and fair share of the
benefits from tourism.
CRT and FATTOD are in a dialogue with the government and the tourism industry, to
help resolve these long pending issues of significant social and economic importance.
The process is slow and frustrating for the taxi drivers because the industry wants to
garner the benefits for itself, while the government is content with paying lip service
to the needs of the taxi drivers without really bringing any change in their situation.
Taxi drivers increasingly feel that unless they adopt militant stances, there will be no
yielding of power to the taxi owners and drivers.
Extracts from the policy
It is important to highlight the rationale and background of the policy proposals as
well as the main proposals.
In the mid seventies, the State Government realized the tremendous potential of
developing the tourism Sector. With the backing of the Centre and the support of
the Tourism Barons and other promoters, tourism was promoted as a zero pollution,
high income generating industry.
After the 80's, the tourism industry flourished as is evident in the increase in the
number of hotels, flights and tourists over the years. The backpackers and chartered
tourists rushed to Goa, which was promoted as the "most sought after tourist
destination". Table No.1 traces the growth of Tourist inflow into Goa. It can be seen
that in 1970-71 the figure for total tourists visiting Goa stood at 1,1 1,040, of which
foreign tourist were merely 5,960 and domestic tourist were 1,05,080. There has
been a continuous growth of tourist inflow since then. In 2007-08 the same figure
stood at 25,97,443. The number of domestic tourists were 22,08,986 and foreign
tourist stood at 3,88,457. Most of the tourist flow is concentrated in the months
from October to May, with a peak during December and January.
A significant growth in the number of hotels in Goa has also been seen. Their number
has increased from 508 in 1 989 to 1 ,933 in 2003 (p) to 2,444 in 2008. The room capacity
has increased from 6,660 in 1989 to 17,342 in 2003 (p) to 21,869 in 2008 and the bed
capacity has increased from 10,369 to 33,139 to 41,031 over the same period.
Today, there is a significant growth in charter flights also. Their number increased
from 24 flights per annum in 1985-86 transporting about 3,568 tourists, to 690
flights and 1,58,993 tourists in 2004-05 and 720 flights and 1,69,836 tourists in
2006-07. Most of the chartered flights and foreign tourist arrivals are concentrated
between November and March.
Table 1: Tourist Flow into Goa
Tourist Arrivals in Goa
Background of the Transport Services for Tourism
At the nascent stage, tourism in Goa was serviced by local buses, black-and-yellow
taxis and a few motorcycle pilots on select routes. Gradually, as a result of the rise
in numbers of tourists, the existing modes were found inadequate to meet the
demand. In addition, the typical foreign tourist had changed from being a 'hippy', to
a conventional holiday maker, who now demanded better transport services. Hence,
in the early 80s, a new form of taxi called the tourist taxi was successfully introduced.
The tourist taxis have remained the mainstay of the transport services for tourists in
Goa ever since, in spite of the various difficulties faced by this predominantly local
group of stakeholders.
The advent of tourist taxis was not only a boon for the tourists, but also the only avenue
for self-employment for a number of local youth, who were left without their traditional
means of livelihood, as a result of tourism. Many locals ventured into the tourist taxi
sector successfully and whole-heartedly. Today this sector employs more than 1000
persons directly, thereby securing the lives of an equal number of families.
In the early 90s, Goa witnessed laissez-faire, free for all, uncontrolled growth of a new
mode of transport, supposedly to improve transport services to the tourist - namely,
tour and travel coaches. Over the years the number of tourist coaches has increased
substantially, primarily as the buses also carry out local tours and other services
traditionally provided by the tourist taxis. The tourist taxis have to face restrictive
and unfair practices, thereby severely diminishing the earning opportunities promised
to the self-employed, local, tourist taxi owners and drivers. Thus, the benefits of
tourism are being denied to the local community, in whose name the tourism was
advocated in Goa in the early 80s. This also goes completely against the policy of the
Department of Tourism, expressed as involvement of local people to the maximum
extent possible in the tourism related development activities. ' Equally importantly, the
misuse of buses to maximize corporate gains has considerably lowered the quality
of transport services to the tourist, while charging double the rates offered by the
tourist taxis, thereby damaging the image of Goa as a tourist destination.
The tourist taxi owners and drivers face a number of other hurdles which, are also
substantially addressed in the operational policy proposed below.
Objectives of the Operational Policy submitted to the Government
The objectives that guided the preparation of this proposal are:
• To promote harmonious relations among the various stakeholders involved in the
• To safeguard equal opportunity and other constitutional rights, and to promote
just and equitable state policies, especially with regard to tourism
• To safeguard the livelihoods of the self-employed locals employed in the tourist
taxi sector and to create further self-employment opportunities for the locals
• To have wider diffusion of gains amongst the local community
• To create social security and recognition for the lower placed participants in
tourism industry in general, and for tourist taxi owners/ drivers in particular
• To promote sustainable and responsible tourism based on local culture, ethics and
The Proposed Operational Policy
1. Equal treatment by Hotels
After the recent growth of charter tours and tour operators, hotels have started
creating unfair conditions favoring the tour operators, thereby adversely affecting
the interests of the tourist taxi drivers. Instead of recognizing the tremendous service
/ 'Tourism Master Plan : Goa - 201 V of the Tourism Dept, Goa Govt, Ch. 17, Sheet 13, Sec 17.5.9 (i)
given by the tourist taxi drivers over the years, the hotels are now subjecting them to
unequal and unfair practices. For example,
• "Reps" (foreigners carrying out travel related business in Goa, see 2 below) are
allowed full access to the Hotel lobbies, where they freely carry out deals and
negotiations, completely excluding the taxi drivers.
• The hotels encourage counters for the tour operators, while the taxi drivers are
denied equal opportunity. The Leela Hotel, Majorda Beach Resort and Cidade de
Goa have even removed taxi counters that were existing earlier.
• Tourists are denied access to taxis. Only the offers of tour operators are exhibited
within the hotel lobbies. It is essential that prices and offers of both taxi drivers
and tour operators are displayed at the same place within the lobby in order to
end the ongoing discrimination against taxi drivers.
• Sometimes hotels go to the extent of warning tourists not to travel by taxis. For
example, tourists have been told in the past that they would lose insurance cover
if they travel by taxis.
As a result of the discrimination by the Hotels, not only are the local, self-employed tourist
taxi drivers denied their legitimate interests in the tourism industry, but the tourists are
also denied their legitimate rights as consumers. This has reduced the quality of local
travel services, which is so important to the success of the tourism industry.
The hotels shall start treating the taxi drivers equally vis-a-vis tour
operators, especially with regards to counter space, exhibition of prices and
2. Illegal business by foreigners
Tour operators are generally companies that offer package tours to a particular
destination. As a result of the rapid growth of charter tourism, many foreign-based
tour operators have opened offices in Goa.
The "Reps" is a recent creation of this charter tourism, which has badly hit the
legitimate interests of locals, especially the tourist taxi owners and drivers. Reps are
persons, usually of foreign origin, such as Russians and Britons, who carry out the
business of local guides and holiday managers within Goan territory. These Reps are
promoted by the tour operators and monopolize large chunks of the local travel-and
guide business. Legally speaking, the Reps do not have work permits and hence are
not entitled to carry out business, trade or profession within India. The large number
of local, self-employed taxi owners and drivers are being deprived of their legitimate
means of sustenance due to Government inaction, which is also aiding the siphoning
of substantial local revenue to foreign countries. As this illegal siphoning is adversely
affecting the state revenues, it is imperative that immediate measures are taken to
stop this illegal business.
It is also pointed out that Reps charge exorbitant rates and dupe the tourists. They
never use tourist taxis from the taxi stands at the hotels, as the taxi-drivers would
satisfy the needs of the tourists without charging excessive rates. Instead, they employ
coaches or other taxis, or private vehicles operating without necessary licenses. The
presence of the Reps allows the vehicle to pick up other foreigners from any hotel,
which is otherwise not allowed. In addition, the Reps exploit the private car/ non-
tourist taxi drivers by paying meager amounts, thereby further starving the loca
economy of its rightful income.
On the other hand the tourist taxi drivers, being locals, are far better equipped
than the Reps to guide the tourists. The tourist taxi rates are much cheaper and
end up being about half of what is charged by the Reps. While the local taxi driver
has always been and shall always be honest, the Reps does not have the same
sense of belonging and ownership. The taxi driver invariably assumes the role of
a tour guide and gives the tourist the advantage of his local knowledge, leaving
him feeling truly satisfied.
Stop the illegal business carried out by foreign Reps within Goan territory
by strictly enforcing the existing provisions of law. No such activities shall
be allowed in the forthcoming season, especially in view of the siphoning of
State and National revenue to foreign countries. Hotels and tour operators
must take necessary measures to stop the tourism-related business activities
of unlicensed foreigners.
3. Financial assistance
A need for new and luxury taxis is being felt by the tourism industry today. This
financial demand has been directly placed on local, unemployed youth, who depend
upon financial institutions for finance in order to enter the tourist taxi trade. Banks
are generally reluctant to finance an applicant in the absence of adequate security,
thereby forcing the prospective taxi owner to approach finance companies instead.
These institutions charge exorbitant rates of interest, sometimes in the range of 1 5-
16%, and the taxi owner is also subjected to additional hidden costs. This adversely
affects the tourist taxi owners' ability to succeed in his endeavour. Further, failure to
pay often leads to lifting of the vehicle'. As a result of this, the tourist taxi owners are
always under financial stress, leading to the following problems:
• Distress sale by helpless taxi owners
• Encourages unethical means of earning
• Discourages genuine prospective tourist taxi owners, and thereby increases
unemployment in the coastal areas, creating other social problems, such as
alcoholism, illegal trade, drug peddling and prostitution
The subsidy currently given by the Government for the purchase of tourist taxis is
about 5% only. The procedure for availing of this subsidy requires the taxi owner to
pay the entire amount first, after which he has to file an affidavit and follow other
procedures, which take another three months or so before the subsidy benefits can
In line with the current Government policies, we propose that the following
financial assistance package 2 be provided to the taxi owners:
• 30% subsidy for upgrading taxis and taxi services
• Subsidy benefits to be available at the time of the purchase
• 6 months repayment holiday for finance received towards upgrading
• Interest rates to be 3% lower than normal bank rates
This financial package shall be made available only for owner-driven taxis.
The badge issued by the Directorate of Transport shall also be mandatory for
getting the benefits of the financial package.
4. Equal opportunity for taxis
Since the 1 980s, the tourist taxi industry has always been show-cased as a successful
avenue for the local youth, who have been economically displaced by tourism, for self-
employment. However, the reality today is that the policies are not implemented. Due
to the uncontrolled growth of the number of coaches, their operators have started
the practice of herding assorted tourists from 5-star hotels and resorts together for
local tours. As a result, both the quality of high-end tourism and the income of the
local youth employed in the taxi industry have dropped steadily. Today, the use of
coaches by illegal foreigners, also called as Reps, and who are actively promoted
by tour operators, is resulting in low quality, high priced services being forced upon
unwitting tourists, while denying equal opportunity to the local taxi industry. Every
coach that collects 15 to 30 honeymoon couples and takes them on a day tour,
denies 1 5 to 30 local self-employed youth their livelihoods as promised under the
Tourism Policy. Further, each tourist ends up paying double the fare in spite of the
lower quality of service.
Large-sized tour operators and some hotels carry out a variety of tourism-related
services to supplement their main activities, often competing with local interests,
such as tourist taxi owners and drivers. The local communities, who have already lost
their traditional means of livelihood to the tourism industry, are now again losing
their legitimate rights, only due to corporate greed. Further, taxis are a much superior
mode of transport than coaches, offering flexibility, privacy and independence. In
order to change the 'cheap' image of Goa generated by the tours conducted by
tourist buses, so that quality tourists come to Goa in the future, taxis must be allowed
2 It is suggested that EDC be selected as the agency to provide the financial package.
and encouraged to provide these specific services, without unequal competition from
In order to maintain and improve the quality of transport service to the tourists
and to safeguard the legitimate interests of the tourist taxi drivers and owners,
it is necessary that the use of coaches be confined to airport departures and
arrivals and for engagements by single groups of tourists only.
5. Social Security
The tourism industry employs a large number of lowly paid workers in various sectors
such as hotels, restaurants and transport, who form the backbone of this industry.
These workers are often employed only for the tourist season and therefore left
unemployed for more than half the year. These workers have no guarantee of work the
next year and are also not provided with any of the mandatory benefits or safeguards
against exploitation guaranteed under the Constitution of India and by the United
Nations Charter. Taxi drivers come under the class of tourism industry workers and
must be included as beneficiaries of a social security system to be implemented in
order to benefit all such workers in the tourism industry.
It is therefore urged that the taxi drivers, who are providing yeoman services to the
cause of the tourism industry of Goa, be provided with Social Security in general,
and, pension (similar to the Dayanand Social Security scheme, health benefits such
as ESI and insurance including Mediclaim or similar medical cover).
6. Facilities and amenities at taxi stands
Taxi stands are mostly situated outside hotels and resorts. The taxi drivers wait at the
stands for the entire day, except when engaged.
The relevant authorities, or the relevant hotel/ resort, must provide reasonable basic
provisions such as toilets, wash rooms, rest room and parking spaces at tourist taxi
stands with which they are concerned, before the beginning of the coming season.
New hotels must be required by law to provide for these basic needs from inception.
7. The Transport Department's requirement for affidavits
The transport department has an unusual requirement that a prospective tourist taxi driver
must make an affidavit stating that the taxi shall be operated from his residence only. This
requirement is obviously arbitrary, causing unnecessary harassment to the taxi owners.
The requirement for the said affidavit shall be removed by amending/ revoking
any legislation or order in force providing for such a requirement or by issuing
orders to the relevant authorities, or by taking any other steps, as necessary.
The prerequisites to be fulfilled by an applicant for the grant of a tourist taxi
driver badge shall be three years experience after obtaining driving license,
good character and a residence certificate.
9. Grant of No Objection Certificate (NOC)
Presently the concerned hotel is required to give a NOC to prospective taxi drivers in
order for him to apply for a permit. This places undue discretion in the hands of the
hotels, who may use it to exact revenge on persons who have asserted their rights,
or to force the taxi drivers to support the hotel's private interests in social, economic
and environmental issues. It is necessary that this discretion in the hands of hotels is
replaced by the consensual wisdom of the concerned association, guided by clearly
understood principles based on equality and justice.
The NOC for the use of a taxi stand by a taxi driver, which is required to
be submitted for obtaining a tourist taxi permit, shall be issued by the taxi
association responsible for that particular stand.
10. Airport Operations
The parking fee at the Dabolim airport starts from Rs. 60/- for three hours. This is many
times more than the national standards, as the fees at Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai
airports for the same time duration are Rs. 10/-, Rs. 5/- and Rs. 5/- respectively(2008
rates) . The parking facility is inadequate and below average standards, and therefore
does not justify such a steep amount.
A second problem with the Airport operations is that the existing taxi counter within
the terminal building is not managed by any local taxi association.
• Airport parking fees shall be reduced to Rs. 10/- per 3 hours for a normal
tourist taxi and shall be proportionately reduced for larger taxis.
• The Airport Arrivals taxi counter shall be handed over to the black and
yellow taxis association, in view of their traditional rights.
11. Harassment by Traffic Police
The taxi drivers, when carrying passengers, are sometimes harassed by the traffic
police. The helpless taxi driver is then forced to oblige the demand for a bribe, as he is
faced with the policeman's threat to hold back the taxi and delay the tourist, thereby
ruining the driver's business and reputation.
Harassment by the traffic police must stop, and must be replaced by trust
arising from the recognition of the discipline and dedication generally
associated with tourist taxi drivers.
12. Regulation of coaches, private car and other operators
Though the tourist taxis which have all legal permissions are strictly regulated by the
Regional Transport Office (RTO), private cars which illegally carry tourists, coaches
and other operators fail to be prevented, or adequately regulated. Even though
instances of illegal tourist taxi business is being carried out by private cars and has
been brought to the notice of the authorities in the past, no action has been taken.
The failure to regulate these other modes of transport for tourists has led to the
proliferation of some legally and morally questionable alternatives, at the cost of the
genuine interests of the taxi drivers.
The alternate transport services for tourists as provided by private cars,
coaches and others shall also be strictly regulated by the RTO and other
13. Tourism tax
The present procedure for collection of the tax is unnecessary and inconvenient, as it
requires payments at regular intervals.
Tourism tax shall be collected every ten years.
A change from the present full white uniform is demanded, which shall better suit
the local weather and the ubiquitous red mud.
The present taxi uniform shall be replaced by a new uniform, which shall be
a white shirt and a black trouser.
This is not only a declaration of the commitment of the tourist taxi owners and drivers
to continue upholding high standards of ethics and responsibility towards tourists
and the society, but also a testimony of their resolve to attain new standards of
customer service, mutual co-operation, fraternity-towards-all and self-respect within
the tourism industry. This dawn heralds a fresh beginning, where hope, diligence and
creativity promise to bring new vigour into the lives and livelihoods of these local,
self-employed, responsible entrepreneurs.
It is a fact that all the associations of tourist taxi owners and drivers maintain disciplinary
and ethical rules for themselves, which are strictly enforced, thereby resulting in
the uniformity of standards currently maintained by the tourist taxis. In addition to
these rules and regulations, the following social obligations have been agreed to be
accepted and honored by all the associations and their members. This declaration
of substantive and procedural provisions, which shall be implemented through the
existing associations and supportive institutions and mechanisms, reflects the current
need for heightened awareness of new challenges and duties that are incidental to
the tourism industry and its future growth.
1. Helpline: It is agreed that in order to meet international standards of customer
service, to achieve a greater sense of security in the minds of the tourists and the
others and to provide a speedy response to complaints, queries and feedback, all the
tourist taxis shall clearly display the helpline telephone number. This telephone number
shall be attended to by trained operators on a 24x7 basis and once operational,
shall provide an easily accessible, accountable and independent contact point for
registering specific complaints and suggestions.
2. Self-regulation and Discipline: This policy document declares the decision
of the taxi owners and drivers to constitute a mechanism for self-regulation. Every
association shall adopt and implement the social obligations listed in this policy as
amendments to their current rules and regulations. Further tiers of the self-regulatory
mechanism shall be provided through bodies created by FATTOD, with the help of the
CRT and the Tourism Department.
All internal disputes, as well as other disputes concerning tourist taxi operations,
shall be resolved by the concerned Association. FATTOD shall be called upon for
mediation, if necessary. Further, the above described regulatory bodies shall be called
upon for arbitration or for redressal by alternate means, as far as possible.
3. Fare Rates: Approved fare rates will be displayed/ made available on request in
each taxi. Uniform rates shall be levied across all Associations for similar services.
4. Zero incidents of drinking-and-driving: It is solemnly resolved that all the
taxi associations shall adopt and strictly implement stringent rules related to drinking
on duty, and ensure that not only are offences related to drunken driving completely
eliminated, but that necessary thought, beliefs and customs are encouraged within
5. Pedophilia: The taxi drivers shall keep an active watch for pedophiles and report
any suspicious behaviour immediately to the helpline number, which shall call 1098
for the necessary intervention. NGOs such as Child Rights Goa (CRG) and Jan Ugahi
shall provide necessary assistance and training.
6. No drugs and narcotics: No taxi drivers shall allow his taxi to be used for
drugs/ narcotics dealings and shall inform the authorities in all such cases. Awareness
programs shall be held for all tourist taxi drivers as necessary.
7. No to Sex Tourism: In order to help the authorities control and regulate the
threat of growing prostitution-tourism nexus, all tourist taxi associations shall ensure
that no drivers are involved in, or actively abet or aid prostitution.
8. Training and awareness: FATTOD and all the Associations, with the help of
CRT and the Tourism Department, shall arrange training for language and other skills,
as necessary. Awareness programs shall also be arranged to ensure the successful
implementation of the policy.
It was proposed that FATTOD and CRT work with Government to form a working
group which will facilitate and supervise the implementation of the policy framework
proposed by FATTOD. It is suggested that the working group consists of five
representatives of the tourist taxi owners and drivers, two representatives of Caritas,
Goa and CSJP and five representatives of the Government and its relevant agencies.
It was suggested that the Director of Tourism be the ex-officio Convener of this
This has been a non-starter in view of the failure of government and tour operators
to yield ground to the taxi driver's just claims.
Protest by Tourism Taxi Owners and Drivers of Goa
Following an ultimatum issued to the Chief Minister by the Federation of Tourist Taxi
Owners and Drivers (FATTOD) in November, 2008, FATTOD went on an indefinite
strike at the onset of the tourist season. In a letter to the Chief Minister, CRT and
FATTOD said: "Our protest will be peaceful and is geared to bringing the government
to the table for negotiations We are pained and sorry to begin such a protest at
a time when the tourist season itself is a lean one. However, the absence of any
indication from the government as to our submission has compelled us to take this
decision. Our hope is that our protest will bring an amicable and acceptable solution
to the problems we have highlighted in our memorandum of demands, a copy of
which has been attached for your kind reference. The strike led to some dialogue
but, until now, there has been no resolution on some of the key demands of the
In order to create public awareness and sympathy for the claims of taxi drivers, a
press conference was called. The public and media have never fully understood the
claims of the taxi drivers and hence the PR exercise was needed. In their letter to
the press, FATTOD leaders pointed out that "FATTOD wishes to use the occasion
to highlight the precarious plight of the Tourist Taxi Drivers and Owners - a plight
long ignored by the government. This year the problems have been compounded
by a hugely lean season categorized by a massive fall in the number of tourists who
have come to Goa. Things have been further worsened by the entry of an array of
illegal operators and Reps whose work only serves to further destabilize the local taxi
operators, and threaten their livelihoods. FATTOD called upon the "media to take up
this important issue".
It would be inappropriate not to recognize some of the demands that were met
by the government that are contained in the policy proposals. There have been
several success stories too and the government has yielded grounds on several of the
demands. The frustration among FATTOD members stems from the fact that on the
core demands there has been little or no real movement.
One of the more innovative schemes introduced for FATTOD in a cooperative venture
between the Tourism Department, CRT and FATTOD. 800 taxi drivers from all across
Goa underwent a training - Tourism on Wheels designed to enable taxi drivers to
equip them as tour guides and as informed, responsible hosts.
Federation of Small and Medium
Guest Houses in Goa (FOSAM)
One of the priority sectors identified by CRT was the Small and Medium Enterprises
(SMEs) in tourism. A major mobilization process was taken up and meetings were held
in different parts of Goa together with owners of small and medium guesthouses in
their own locations. Having established the urgent imperative need for an association
- a rallying point for these enterprises to act in unison - an organization was created
and called the "Federation of Small and Medium Guest Houses" (FOSAM).
Organizationally speaking FOSAM has defined itself as follows:
Vision and Mission
The vision of FOSAM is to create an atmosphere wherein tourism in Goa becomes
a meaningful and enjoyable experience and encounter for the visitor with the Goan
culture, traditions, and the natural beauty of Goa. In line with this vision, FOSAM seeks
to enhance the experience of travellers to Goa by offering quality services and a distinct
Goan experience to the visitor - be they tourists or business travelers visiting Goa.
FOSAM believes that its core organizational intent is to advance the interests of Small
and Medium Hotels and Guest Houses in Goa as a way of creating self-employment
to a wide range of people and thus serve the State of Goa in the tourism arena
• Be a recognized body that speaks on behalf of its members and the Small and
Medium accommodation sector who account for 95% of the accommodations
provided to visitors to Goa.
• Create methods and avenues through which SMEs can gain access to incentives,
subsidies, and government policies/packages which can enhance their financial
• Develop relevant tourism policies and paradigms that serve to bring greater
benefits to Goans and the Goan economy.
• Undertake initiatives that guarantee that the SMEs in tourism are seen as a socially
• Cooperate and work together with other small sectors of the economy such as
dairy, poultry, agriculture, transportation, food services etc so that an integrated
development is possible.
• Work to lobby for policies and programmes which advance the interests of the all
Small and Medium sectors in tourism so as to ensure that the benefits of tourism
are not expatriated.
• Access relevant schemes and programmes available in the government - State
and Central- which can be channeled to SMEs and, thus, further, advance their
• Propose measures through which various departments of government at State
and Central level can provide subsidies and incentives to SMEs by which they can
increase their service and earning capacities.
• Develop a Code of Ethics for all members to be strictly adhered to.
• Create 'Certification Schemes'/Labels for FOSAM members in cooperation with
Centre CRT under such subjects as 'Responsible Host', 'Code of Ethics', 'Green
Host', 'Committed to child protection' etc.
• Need for the Department of Tourism and Goa Tourism Development Corporation
(GTDC) to deem FOSAM as a consultative body and channel policy making
through FOSAM for purposes of cooperation and smooth implementation. Also,
that FOSAM will represent Goa in International Trade Fairs where tourism is show
cased e.g. the ITB in Berlin each year.
• Need for a 'single window' clearance with a long-term Certificate of Registration
and Trade License issued for five years; a waiver of registration fees to guest-
houses with five or less rooms; a strict adherence to the three-month time-line for
• Special incentives to "Nature Tourism Resorts" under the banner of eco-tourism.
• Special concessions to convert power supplies from normal pattern into solar
Plan of Action
1. Charter Tours
Analyze the social and economic implications of charter tours for Goa and Goan
entrepreneurship; Develop a minimum standard rate that SMEs can charge the
charter tour companies and better regulation of rates by the government based on
market value; Government needs to be partner and advocate on behalf of local SMEs
vis-a-vis foreign charter companies.
Stake claims towards the following:
• Allocation of 25% of the annual tourism budget to ensure quality infrastructure
at the local village/city level including proper roads with adequate lighting at
• 24-hour electricity especially during the monsoon, 24-hour clean water supply
• A well planned public sewerage system and treatment plants, especially in highly
concentrated coastal villages
• Regular garbage collection segregated at source from residences and businesses
as well as public bins which are emptied on a daily basis, and beaches free from
Obtain capital investment subsidy for locals; interest-free loans for upgrading existing
facilities and an employment subsidy for hiring local staff throughout the year with a
partial salary during the off-season.
4. Tourism Tribunal
Establish a tourism tribunal to address grievances from service providers in the industry
as well as complaints from civil society, and where necessary, provide a temporary
resolution within 24-hours.
5. Environmentally Sustainable Rural Tourism
• Promote eco-tourism among existing SMEs in collaboration and facilitate
experiential training sessions and technical advice exchange within the entire
• Claim incentives and subsidies to SMEs to adopt environmental-friendly practices
such as alternative energy sources in the operation of their facilities
• Claim rebates on water, electricity, and sewage charges
• Claim rewards/incentives for SMEs which have put into place these systems and
save the government on water and power consumption and sewage collection
Lobby to have new luxury tax of up to Rs. 800/- per room abandoned; and revert
back to the old cut-off categories
Seasonal Certificate to small paying guest accommodation so as to support small
8. Enhancement of the marketing capabilities of guesthouses
Claim support for separate brochures/booklets/website with special mention of
paying guest accommodation throughout the Department's promotional channels,
e.g. visibility and free telephone service at the airport accommodation
FOSAM's Code of Conduct
Members of FOSAM developed a pledge to abide by. The following was adopted as
a code of conduct in four key categories:
• Act in good faith in all dealings with the government and its representatives, i.e.
no bribery, abide by building regulations.
• Pay all taxes and registration fees with the understanding that these contribute to
our state's revenues.
• Be a good neighbor by applying highest standards of integrity, fairness and ethical
conduct in neighborhood and participate actively in community fora to address
broader social problems.
• Treat all visitors with honesty and courtesy and make sure that they are aware of
the local customs and laws.
• Provide decent employment/provisions for staff during the off season.
Protection of Human Dignity
• Shall not display tolerance of any activity that violates the human dignity of anyone
else, e.g. pedophilia, prostitution, sale and abuse of drugs, human trafficking, in
premises or surrounding areas.
• Shall not engage child workers.
• Shall be committed to environmental protection because this is not just in
our business interests, but also because an environmentally friendly business
is in the interest of our own health & well-being and that of our families and
• Shall segregate waste on-site and participate in a community system of garbage
collection and disposal.
• Shall demonstrate respect for nature and wildlife.
Creation of Strategy Groups as follows:
Environmental and Pollution issues
Taxation/Rates and Tariffs/Infrastructure issues
Eco-Tourism and Nature tourism issues
Charter Tours/Rent Back issues
Government relations/Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG)
Media and publicity
SME linkages to other sectors
In the ultimate analysis
FOSAM is, in the ultimate analysis, an organization and programme to:
• Bring the benefits of tourism to Goans
• Give the visitor to Goa an authentic Goan experience
• To establish that Goa is a destination that offers a safe and ideal environment
for people to holiday and experience something distinct, be it cultural, spiritual,
environmental, or just a relaxing time away from home!
A major initiative undertaken by the FOSAM was a dialogue with Member-Secretary
of the Goa Pollution Control Board, representatives of FOSAM, CRT and Director,
Tourism. Following the dialogue, a few important steps were noted and agreed on.
• New requirements of the Goa Pollution Control Board pertaining to Small Guest
Houses in 'Category D' would not be applicable for the current tourism season.
• FOSAM to help design an anti-pollution regulatory system for the tourism industry
that is based on the size of the guest house and the corresponding degree of
pollution that can be potentially generated. This will be submitted to the Goa
Pollution Control Board for their consideration. FOSAM members will have the
opportunity to present their proposals and viewpoints. The Pollution Control
Board requested a letter signed by members of FOSAM which as done by a large
group of SMEs. The letter said:
"We, the undersigned, have come together as Small and Medium Hotels / Guest
Houses in Goa, henceforth shortened to small and medium-size enterprises or SMEs,
to review a matter of grave concern to us. We are united under the banner of the
'Centre for Responsible Tourism' which is an initiative of the Caritas-Goa and Council
for Social Justice and Peace.
We recognize the need for anti-pollution legislation in Goa and as responsible
citizens and would like to play our part in keeping Goa clean. However we are
deeply troubled by some fundamental flaws in the approach to pollution control
that we are being subjected to. Below, we list the problems as we see them and our
The new system of pollution control seems be
arbitrary and not based on actual emissions of
enterprises in different industries, particularly
of SMEs in the hospitality industry.
Design an anti-pollution regulatory system
for the tourism industry that is based
on the size of the guest house and the
corresponding degree of pollution that can
be potentially generated.
The proposed sewerage system contradicts
to the existing anti-pollution mechanisms
that have been put into place by SMEs at
great costs in accordance to the licensing
and regulatory requirements.
Inspect the existing systems in place at SMEs
and review the need for a new sewerage
The new forms are based on the operation
of large hotels and manufacturing industries.
They are, therefore, inappropriate and
impractical for SMEs.
Formulate a reporting form that is relevant
to the size, type and services offered by
The high pollution control fees which have
been levied by the Board does not address
the problem of pollution.
Instead, offer a friendly administrative
system which can provide guidance on
reporting the levels of potential pollution
and technical advice on how this can be
controlled and reduced.
SMEs that operate in the coastal areas are
unduly penalised by a year-round fees and
Any pollution control mechanisms that are
put in place need to reflect the seasonality
of the tourism industry in general and SMEs
Enterprises that rely on generators/
alternative energy sources are made to pay
high fees in addition to the fees already
charged for anticipated pollution.
The use of back-up sources of energy
should be incorporated in the existing fee
The new 'renewal of registration' fee
structure does not take into account the
varying degrees of pollution within the
It needs to reflect the size of the enterprise,
i.e. the number of rooms rather than
broad categories as outlined in the new
The retrospective character of the fee
structure is unfair
It needs to be revised.
In general, there needs to be adequate justification for including tourism SMEs having
35 rooms or less under the purview of the Goa Pollution Control Board.
Due to the highly controversial nature of the present system, we demand that the
licenses of small and medium hotels and guesthouses be renewed by the Department
of Tourism without further hardships, until there has been sufficient time to review
and revise the anti-pollution legislation in light of discussions of its implications with
those affected by it.
We earnestly request you to consider the proposal we make to you and which
has been signed a large numbers of Small and Medium Hotels / Guest House
from North, South, and Central Goa. We are willing to come and meet you to
discuss this proposal and find consultative solutions to the problems. Our attitude
is one of cooperation and partnership with your department. We hope you will
reciprocate in the same spirit".
Change in tax policy
FOSAM/CRT is also lobbying for a rescission of the current policy and a tax on room
rates of Rs 800/- and above.
The letter to the Minister of Finance was a request to reconsider the announcement
of new luxury taxes and pointed out the following:
"On April 14th, 2008 your department issued an announcement in the Gazette
requiring all guesthouses to pay a luxury tax on room rates of Rs 250/- and above.
Prior to this year, the luxury tax applied only to room rates of Rs 500/- and above.
This new policy results in an arbitrary and oppressive increase in taxes for small and
medium guesthouses. As a result of this increase, guesthouses will have to increase
their rates, prospectively losing business to the detriment of the Goan economy.
Furthermore, the sudden increase in the tax will create a significant loss of revenue to
guesthouses locked in long term contracts with charter tour companies.
It must also be noted that while your announcement was issued on the 1 4th April, it
was back dated as 2nd April, 2008 and it came into force from April 1 , 2008. The net
result was that it disadvantaged a large number of guesthouses and hotels because
they were unaware of the announcement and having, not collected any taxes from
customers; now have to pay this from their own pockets.
We propose a rescission of the current policy and the institution of a tax on room
rates of Rs 800/- and above. After all, most of us are self employed individuals, not
large industrial conglomerates to whom this concession will mean a lot. A tax at this
rate will free guesthouses to charge more competitive prices, increasing business to
the benefit of the Goan economy.
We earnestly request you to consider this proposal we make to you and which has
been signed by large numbers of Small and Medium Hotels/Guest House from North,
South, and Central Goa. We are willing to come and meet you to discuss this proposal
and find consultative solution to the problem. Our attitude is one of cooperation and
partnership with your department. We hope you will reciprocate in the same spirit".
White paper on SMEs
FOSAM and CRT worked together to produce a research-based, policy-oriented paper
that benefits small and medium-size tourist accommodation facilities, and the Goan
community more broadly. Titled 'Small is Goan', the ground breaking study, carried
out by Dr. Anibel Ferus-Comelo who served as Consultant to FOSAM -could impact
other Third World destinations too where, like in Goa, the benefits of tourism do not
always accrue to the local communities. The report argues that, since 97% of the
tourist accommodation sector is made up of SMEs, a substantial majority of which are
owned and operated by Goan families catering to a vast diversity of tourist budgets,
SMEs deserve to be formally consulted in tourism planning. Additional reasons why
entrepreneurship in the SME segment needs to be financially and institutionally
supported by the government are also presented. Finally, the report suggests that
Goa needs sustainable, responsible tourism development with an emphasis on small
and medium enterprises for the benefit of our communities. Once this has been put
into place, tourists in large numbers will continue to be drawn to the state for its
natural beauty, cultural heritage and harmonious social environment.
Although tourism is considered the backbone of Goan economy, there is a disturbing
lack of a policy framework which ensures that the gains of tourism-related activities
benefits local people, local communities and local entrepreneurs. The policy paper is
a path-breaking attempt of small and medium enterprise (henceforth SME) owners
in the tourist accommodation sector to highlight the problems they face, to propose
policy solutions, and to articulate their social and ethical responsibilities toward an
The research for this paper covered a representative sample of the SMEs owners
from around the state. The study was conducted through multiple forms of data
collection, including a total of 219 surveys collected from SMEs representing over
1,600 rooms available in coastal villages from Pernem to Canacona. Four principles
framed the study, namely, an equitable redistribution of the economic benefits
through tourism; preservation of human dignity and meaning in tourism-related
activity; the protection of nature and the environment; and democratic decision-
making along with all stakeholders including local communities which are profoundly
impacted by tourism.
The White Paper comes in the wake of a Central Planning Commission report on the
need for additional hotel accommodation around the country, especially in the coastal
regulation zone (CRZ) areas of India. The report also proposes the establishment of
casinos, hinterland tourism, and the formation of 'tourism clusters' around major
cities. It may pave the path toward Special Tourism Zones (STZ), which are currently
under consideration at the central level. This does not bode well for Goa. In direct
contrast, our White Paper presents research-based arguments in favour of small-
scale, equitable tourism development rather than mass-based luxury tourism.
It argues that, since 97% of the tourist accommodation sector is made up of SMEs,
a substantial majority of which are owned and operated by Goan families catering to
a vast diversity of tourist budgets, SMEs deserve to be formally consulted in tourism
planning. Additional reasons why entrepreneurship in the SME segment needs to
be financially and institutionally supported by the government are also presented.
Primary among these is that SMEs support livelihoods and are a channel through
which the benefits of tourism are widely distributed in the community. Some of the
SME demands are:
• An annual budgetary allocation to ensure basic infrastructure such as steady 24-
hour electricity and water supply,
• A well-planned sewage system, proper roads and a proper garbage collection and
• A single window clearance for a long-term trade License;
Reinvestment of luxury tax into the struggling agro-dairy-poultry-bakery industries
Support for Goan entrepreneurship;
Immediate repeal of the Goa Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act,
2008 (which excludes government projects from due process);
A Tourism Tribunal; and
Genuine environmentally sustainable rural tourism
FOSAM submitted this interim report to the government as an initial step toward
a transparent and participatory approach to decision-making about the future of
tourism in our state.
CRT and the Independent Peoples Tribunal
on the World Bank
Under the leadership of EQUATIONS and ALTERNATIVES, CRT sent representatives
from Goa to depose before the Independent Peoples Tribunal on the World Bank.
The team from the tourism sector included Geraldine Fernandes, John Rego and
Ranjan Solomon - who also served as convener for the deliberations on tourism at
John Rego, a trade union leader speaking for the workers underlined that without the
worker the tourism industry itself will be totally disabled. We are its backbone. But we
are the worst treated and our rights are constantly violated. Not just that. Increasingly,
our working conditions are being degraded and inhuman working conditions are
imposed upon us. The hotel establishments have managed to manipulate everything
in such a way that unions are becoming marginal and workers are even afraid to join
the unions and stand up for their rights. Job protection has become everything and
as a result workers are divided by a colonial-type regime in the hotels.
Geraldine Fernandes, highlighted the situation of "Tourism and opportunities for
small entrepreneurs". In a passionate story telling approach, she told her audience
how she arrived in Benaulim in 1993. Being a creative and independent person by
nature, and also having had the experience of running a pharmacy and restaurant as
a young woman - as part of the family business - that it would be useful for her to be
self-employed and set about working towards starting a guesthouse in Benaulim.
"I looked around the area in Benaulim where my husband had inherited land gifted
to him by his father. After a detailed market survey and assessing the prospects,
I consulted friends and family- all of whom encouraged launching as a tourism
entrepreneur. I was further encouraged by the thought and assurance that commercial
banks were under obligation to support small scale entrepreneurs especially women.
It was only later that I realized and learned that much of this was mere rhetoric.
When I decided to launch my small tourism business - a guest house with 8 rooms
and 3 penthouses - modest but comfortable, clean, spacious, and built around
tourism ethics- I was deceived by what I saw around me. Firstly, I saw how huge
the concessions were to the 5-star hotels- whether of Indian or foreign origin. They
were not only given land on rates massively less than the normal market rates, they
were also given easy access to credit and at comfortable terms. Not just that. Access
roads, electricity, water supplies, waste management/ garbage disposal, etc were all
made easy for them. The government invested in their needs and demands. On the
contrary, we the small entrepreneurs had to cope with virtually impossible travails if
we started out on a business.
When I finally got a loan, it was from a cooperative bank- The Madgaum Urban
Cooperative Bank. It was an unwilling Board of Directors who grilled me for hours
before one of the Directors decided to guarantee me seeing logic in my claims
and plans. How can I conclude? I have to highlight how seriously the effects of
globalization play out on us Goans.
Globalization has produced more wealth for fewer people in the world? The
rich have more money than they can spend on themselves. They now holiday in
exotic destinations and Goa is one of them. The MNCs, who are the engines of
globalization- supported by the machinations of the World Bank and other global
financial institutions, make sure that the wealth generated by the MNCs stays within
their fold. Hence, they make sure that the leisure industry rakes in profits from
tourism and thus, guarantee that economic privileges grow, but are confined to,
the same classes which gain from globalization. That is why, despite all the big talk
about making things work for the 'little folk', the tourism industry works for the rich
and powerful, for big business, excludes and marginalizes the small entrepreneur. In
fact, we as small enterprises can only function when we agree to be subservient or
subsidiary to the big hotels and resorts and related ventures. If the World Bank thinks
tourism must be promoted, that the sector must be liberalized, then it must also
have the essential common sense to democratize tourism and make it beneficial to
communities. Community-based tourism is first and last about getting communities
to be hosts of the visitor - not the abstract hotel that turns up in the form of a 5-star
or 7-star hotel. They are not hosts. They are profit making set-ups who violate our
coasts by rank indifference to our cultures, coasts, children, women and workers.
They do not represent us - the Goans. They represent profit and capital; in short,
greed. We are its victims simply because the entire global financial system - so well
represented by the World Bank and its collaborating institutions and governments -
has no place for us, the small entrepreneur."
Tourism Impact Assessment Workshop
for Rachol Seminarians
In cooperation with the Rachol Seminary, EQUATIONS, Alternatives and CRT organized
a "Tourism Impact Assessment Workshop" for 35 seminarians in October 2007.
It proved to be a ground breaking event and one which participants appreciated
deeply. Perhaps, the best way to sum up the utility of the workshop is to take in what
one of the seminarians had to say at the conclusion: "One day or the other, each of
us will serve coastal parishes. I hope that we will use the knowledge and motivation
we gained here to mobilize our parishes to critique tourism and offer alternative
paradigms wherein tourism will be a true encounter between the visitor and the
visited, and where there is justice and dignity for all those involved.
Participants of the workshop also did a field study on the pattern of Israeli tourism
in the Palolem area in South Goa - an enclave frequented by Israeli tourists. Their
observations are well recorded in the accompanying collective statement. The
statement is preceded by a pertinent question: Is Goa "the Rome of the East or Israel
in the East"?
"Goa was known for its scenic beauty, crystal clean water, heaven-like climate, sky-
reaching architecture, hospitable people, and mind-blowing folklores. ...magnetizes
people from different parts of the world. Goan art, specially the culinary art has
spawned preparation that was designed to tease gourmet's pallets all over the world.
But today, Goa is reduced to a holiday spot. Tourists come to Goa with the latent
intention of making business. This place is considered as a Gulf-estate by many of
them. We can clearly see the gradual rise in the plans to plunder and loot Goa.
The world is fully aware of the political and social drama between the two riva
nations: Israel and Palestine. Like any other foreign nations the citizens have to
undergo military training to serve their country. The disciplined and strict environment,
the encounters, the shootouts somehow distorts their psyche and thus becomes a
burden to treat. So these people are sent on holidays to different destinations in
order to recover themselves and Goa is one of the destinations. By understanding
and studying the above situation we would like to make a special study on Israeli
tourist in Goa.
Questions Screaming for Solutions....
Do the Israeli tourists own any private properties in Goa and do they operate
any businesses of their own. If they are running a business, do they run them in
partnerships? Do the Israeli tourists violate the laws of the land in Goa? Do they posses
a valid visa? Why do the Israeli tourists choose Goa as destination for relaxation?
These questions demand answers.
In addition, drug mafias are making hay in the sunshine. Drugs, sex, prostitution,
pedophilia are showing a steep increase in the graph-line of Goan tourism. In the
name of tourism, men, women and children are abused by many of the tourists.
Crimes, bribes, smuggling, trafficking have polluted the tourism sector. Today, it looks
like Goa is noted for theft, money laundering, sexual abuse and so on. In a way, drugs
have destabilized progress in Goa.
Field Study of Palolem Beach
• Economic impact of tourism
Tourism industry is the largest industry in the world and provides highest revenue
to the government. Approximately 22 lakh tourists visit the small state of Goa from
different part of the world annually. To accommodate the inflow of tourist, buildings
and huts are set up on the coastal area even violating CRZ regulations. The land is
also sold to outsiders in order to set up huts and shacks on the coastal area in order
to cater to the needs of the tourist.
To set up a shack or hut on the coastal area, many government formalities are carried
out, like license to setup a shack or hut, license to sell liquor, N.O.C. etc are often
obtained illegally by paying huge sums of money. On the coastal area shacks and huts
are mostly owned and run by Nepalis, Bengalis and even foreigners. Rentals of rooms
and a hut vary according to facilities available. Price also depends on the situation of
the room or the huts. There is an increase in price during the peak season. The cost
of a hut or room is between Rs. 500-800 per day.
In the shack the waiters are paid between Rs. 1 500-2000 per month, and sometimes
their tips are higher than the actual salary. The kitchen staff, mostly comprises of
non-Goans, who are paid according to their experience and the type of work they
perform. Their salary is between Rs. 5000-9000 per month. The menus' in the shacks
are prepared in foreign languages for the convenience of the foreign tourists.
Due to tourism, price inflation occurs, which common people find very difficult
to adjust with. Some foreigners are stingy and so they bargain for everything
and whatever they purchase. Some local fishermen supplement their income
by taking tourists on dolphin trips, flea markets, etc. They charge them around
Rs.250 per head.
Local people, mostly are involved in renting vehicles to the tourist for Rs. 150-250
per day. Some local enhance their income by selling fruits, vegetables, snacks, soft
drinks, etc. Shack owners too patronize these general stores, in order to buy fruits,
vegetables and other necessities.
lamannies' 1 who are mostly from Karnataka, Kerala, and so on too earn their living
by selling clothes, chains, bracelets, posters, etc. Some of them are involved in this
business for more than 1 years. In order to carry out their business smoothly, police
are paid Rs.50, on a daily basis and if not, they are beaten up. Night parties do take
place, mostly during Christmas and New Year's Eve, with the help of police and local
politicians, who are paid heavily.
Apart for tourism business, some people engage themselves in fishing, agriculture
during the off-seasons.
• Environmental impact of tourism
On the commencement of tourism season shack and huts owners are engaged in
construction of shacks and huts which are less than 50 meters from the high tide line
(HTL). Sand is used from the shore for construction of huts as a result sand dunes are
flattened. Some of the structures are temporarily erected on top, coated with plastic
which contrasts the beauty of the beach. Whole stretch is covered with coconut trees
but at some places bushes, shrubs and so on have given way to the structures. Fishing
boats are visible along the shore indicating the fishing activity. Fishermen reveal that
during the monsoons, fishing is profitable business but later the catch is scanty. They
also affirm that the catch has declined in the past years. There is no water sport, but
still tourism has created difficulties for the fishermen.
Garbage disposal is another problem encountered on the beach. Garbage bins are
merged with the ground and no garbage bins are visible, as a result garbage such as
plastic bottles and cans are scattered on the shore. These are collected regularly by
Cancona Municipal Council (C.M.C.) workers and negligently burnt at the extreme
end leaving behind a heap of ashes. Land grabbing around the vicinity of the sea is a
constant phenomenon. Even the island which is imbibed with greenery is acquired for
constructing hotels but locals opined that it is a distant reality and they will strongly
oppose the move. As far as water and power supply is concerned, people have no
problem. Well water is also not contaminated. There is also noise pollution during
Christmas season due to parties.
7 Lamannies are people coming from neighbouring states and have their particular way of living based on nomadic and gypsy
• Socio-cultural impact of tourism:
Goa is a beautiful land of different cultures and varied heritage. And this culture is
moving on its way to become like just a dream. Tourism has played a drastic role in
transforming a rich culture and giving it a face of western culture.
Moving along the coast of Palolem we have tried our best to encounter cases of
impact of tourism on social and cultural aspect. Tourism industry is increasing so
rapidly that the Goan people are pulled towards this way of life. The families which
had their traditional occupations such as toddy tapping, farming have left them and
moved towards tourism.
People have expressed their views about the dress code saying that approximately
1 years back the tourists had a decent way of dressing but today they are not even
ashamed to be open or semi dressed and this has affected today's generation's way
of looking at them. Much of the local youth just come to watch them.
Speaking about children of these coastal areas they are loosing their interest in
education and are getting more interested and fascinated with tourism. When we
questioned some of the children they said that they are more happy doing these
activities on the beaches rather than studying. Yes, tourism has made an effect on
our social and cultural life, but to where is this tourism heading our society and
culture? Does it enhance and have a positive effect or is it leading Goa to worse in
the name of tourism?
• Institutional aspect of tourism
Tourism industry has made an impact on the economic, environmental, social and
cultural aspects. Amidst this institutions have a role to play in tourism.
1 . Municipality
Municipality does the work of issuing licenses to build shacks, tents, huts and to
destroy the illegal constructions which violates the laws. These shacks, huts, tents
and temporary restaurants are being charged Rs.2000 and 900 respectively and the
money is used for the development of the locality such as road repairs, garbage
maintenance and so on. Whenever a new project arrives the people are asked to send
their representatives with suggestions or ideas to the council meeting. The further
discussion is left up to the chairman. Hardly are there problems reported about the
labourers and tourist. But the problem of Goans selling their property to foreigners is
not in the hands of the municipality. It's the choice made by the people. Municipality
says Goan employed shack owners prefer outsiders.
2. Religious Institutions
The views shared by Parish Priest of Canacona and a nun of Nirmala convent were
somewhat similar on tourism. Tourism has its positive and negative effects. Tourism
has affected our flowering youth. Our youth is getting pulled towards the problems
of drugs, alcohol, HIV+, aids and so forth. They are slowly loosing the values and
moving towards immoral way of life. The institutions are working hard to make
the families and specially the youth aware of the problems and consequences of
tourism, by means of organizing social act forum, putting up street plays, seminars
and making pastoral visits, thus building an authentic and organized society and
better way of living.
We have a great barrier to overcome and we have to be vigilant to track down
negative impacts of tourism. The people need to be mobilized to defend themselves
whenever atrocities arise so that in the near future we might not find ourselves in a
foreign land called 'GOA'.
It is crucial to highlight the theological reflections of the group that underwent the
training in impact assessment. Their reflections point to a possible direction for the
church to take and to use as a theological/ ideological basis.
"Tourism is the ideal occasion for man to realize that he is a pilgrim in time and space".
When we say that man is a pilgrim in time and space, it would be our duty to help
these pilgrims as pastors, as guides and as laity to reach their final destination. The
main purpose of the pastoral care of tourism is to encourage the optimal conditions
that will aid Christians in living the reality of tourism as a moment of grace and
salvation, as this tourism would bring about a new way of evangelization.
We can say that the parish is the proper place wherein the pastoral care for tourism
can be developed. This local community, parish, is responsible for making bonds of
cooperation to promote the human and spiritual values among the tourist because it
is these people who are in constant contact with the tourists more than the pastors.
How can we live tourism in a Christian way?
Every one should recognize that the effort to live one's free time as a Christian
must necessarily be sustained by deep Christian vision of tourism. Every Christian
should make the tourist feel at home and must abstain not only from any behavior
contrary to their vocation, but also from words, gestures, attitudes that can offend
the sensitivity of others.
Familytourism can be proposed as an effective means for strengthening and rebuilding
family bonds. Pastoral care of tourism should promote initiatives so that the Christian
tour operators and workers in tourist sector will know the Church's social doctrine.
To respond to the "moral problem" that the ecological crises represents for today's
world, it is necessary to promote initiatives to respect the environment and to
safeguard the priorities of the local community, even at the cost of limiting tourist
activity if necessary to the spiritual good of the tourist.
The pastoral care of tourism must set up and encourage, cooperation with the public
administrations and with the professional organizations and associations working
in tourism so that the Christian vision of tourism can be spread and develop "the
implicit possibility of a new humanism".
"He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms, and
carry them in his bosom and gently lead the mother sheep", says. Prophet Isaiah (Is.
In order that these words of Prophet Isaiah come true the following recommendations
for the pastoral care of tourism will be useful to examine:
• There is a great need to keep track of the arrival of tourist in our state and study
their religious needs. This will surely help in the growth and maturity of their faith
even during their vocation.
• Today's seminarians are future Priests, and they are the ones who have to face the
greater challenges with respect to the pastoral care of the tourists. Keeping this
in mind seminaries and formation houses need to make some provisions geared
towards the pastoral care of tourism in their academic syllabus.
• Tour guides or escorts should be properly trained especially those accompanying
tourist to the places of religious significance. They should be so trained that they
not only explain the significance of the religious place but also inform them about
the religious services.
• Ecclesial authorities should also keep in touch with the Government bodies and
NGOs working towards balanced and healthy tourism activities. Care should be
taken that while providing best possible services to the tourist, the primary need
of our community are not hampered.
• In places where the arrival of tourist is in abundance and there is scarcity of
priests and religious to look after their religious needs, pastoral workers should
be trained, so that they can look after certain pastoral needs in their locality.
• Priests who are working in tourism related areas should ensure that the religious
needs of the tourists are met. For this appropriate measures should be taken so
that visitors can participate in the Eucharistic celebration in their own language
or with other expressions of their culture, always with respect to the liturgical
dispositions in force.
• Just as we have Catechetical Centre, Centre for Lay Apostolate, Council for Social
Justice and Peace at the Diocesan level, it would have been ideal to establish a
special Diocesan Centre for the Pastoral Care of Tourism, that will co-ordinate and
aid the pastoral care of this sector.
• In places frequented by tourists, the local parish community should not only
be involved in welcoming visitors, rather it should also prepare its own faithful
to practice tourism in a Christian way and support those who act and work in
• There is a need to form a group of lay persons to study and propose pastoral
actions to be undertaken in the field of tourism. The same could also take the
charge of co-coordinating various religious services for the sake of tourist.
• On account of employment opportunities provided by tourism industry many
people who are employed in tourism industry are not in a position even to
fulfill their Sunday obligation because of the work load and odd working hours
especially during peak season. Therefore there is a great need to create specific
services for the sake of those working in tourism and hotel industry, according to
the working hours.
• It is not enough that the church works for the religious welfare of the tourist
community, for there is a great need to monitor all the antisocial activities like drug
marketing, pedophilia, sex tourism, etc, taking place in the parish community.
• Parishes, especially those in the places of tourist's importance, should keep
the information regarding parish services updated and has to ensure that this
information is readily available at hotels, guest houses, information point or even
a sign board outside the church could be a great help.
Theologizing that is responsive to the challenges of the context must take the
concern of the people seriously. Abuses of the natural resources, growing disrespect
to women and children, and erosion of values on account of tourism, challenge the
theologians and the Church in Goa, to commit themselves to visualize the shape of
the Church that is relevant to the context and situation of the people. The Church has
to make her faith more alive, dynamic and challenging by encountering the reality of
tourism, while at the same time remaining faithful to her living tradition and mission.
Theologizing is the mystical experience and praxis-oriented prophetic commitment to
reveal God's presence in our daily situation. Thus, in the context of tourism, our seas,
coast, fields, rich cultural heritage, and hills act as a place for a relevant theology of
tourism. The Church cannot remain silent or neutral in the face of dehumanizing
impacts; rather she should prophetically challenge the situation.
Studying the impact of the Israeli Tourist in Goa
Following the workshop, separate sessions were held for a select group of 12
seminarians who made a commitment to give up a Christmas vacation to study the
patterns of Israeli tourist in Goa. A separate report on that study is being published.
The temptation to look at the long list of activities and success stories must be
accompanied by a note of caution. Much done, and a long, long way to go is how
one can describe the tasks and challenge ahead. We have barely touched the tip of
the iceberg, as it were. More mobilization and awareness must be the basic approach.
For, what is at stake is the integrity of the Goan people. That is under threat from
various angles- economic, social, cultural, and environmental. CRT must continue to
be a watchdog in the tourism amphitheater, as it were. Equally, it must create the
alternatives around which local spaces and cultures are respected, enhanced, and
allowed to face the encounter between the visitor and the visited.
A critical appraisal
The report that precedes this appraisal is a narrative account of the intent and
purposes of CRT and the actions which accompanied the declaration of CRT's vision
The list of achievements and processes carried forward are long and impressive. Yet,
it is not time to celebrate. The stage we have reached is one where we have declared
lofty intentions and plans and have just about gone a bit past the foundational stages.
By no means can we claim that we have achieved what we set out to accomplish. The
way ahead is hard and long. It will entail risks and involve taking on the unfamiliar.
The time has come to stabilize and consolidate some of our work. The stage
has also arrived when we need to assume more aggressive postures in some arenas
especially in terms of establishing policy guidelines at the government level with
respect to the various sectoral groups.
There is also the question of human resources - both volunteer and professional
services. We shall need both in good measures. It would be risky to over-professionalize
our work with a large staff structure because that would take away the community
dimension of our work. The leadership for this work must, of necessity, emerge
from the people themselves. Staff roles must be supportive and enabling at best.
Therefore, there is a need for capacity building in various fields for the community
This is also a juncture when an honest appraisal is required and a SWOT analysis
done. Some kind of regrouping needs to be done and some of the earlier intensity
that has somewhat faded be retrieved. Or else, the hard work of the last two years
can be wasted and when such a programme is revived, it will have to be ground up
Tourism is growing - never mind what those who predict doom for Goan tourism are
saying. Tourism in Goa is here to stay and one must ignore the media and those who
pretend that the future is bleak.
One must also guard against the manipulations of the industry - the big sectors
(the sharks of the tourism industry) that are battling to corner all the benefits and
render what they refer to as the 'sub sectors', mainly the tourist taxi drivers, shack
owners, and small and medium guest houses, irrelevant and out of business. We
must be warned that the government has not formally approved any of our
policy proposals and claims and, continues to accommodate the powerful lobbies
of the big players in the industry. It is important to recognize that the powerful are
not going to part with their influence and riches voluntarily. Their concern for the
'small fish' in the tourism sector is nil.
Up until today, the government which boasts of Goa's tourism being a huge income
earner conveniently ignores the fact that the rich and external interests are the main
beneficiaries of tourism. We have to keep raising the question: 'Who benefits
from tourism'? Not just as a question but as a challenge to ourselves and to the
government and industry to expose the poverty of the government's claims that the
people of Goa gain from tourism. The wealth from tourism merely trickles down
to the people and by the time it reaches the bottom rung, there are mere crumbs to
Our ultimatums to government, strikes, and dialogue have yielded far less than we
had hoped for. Our insistence should be multiplied by large mobilization and thus, the
amplifying of voices for a just and humane tourism. This is not a call for aggression or
violent methods; rather it is a call to militant resistance that is peaceful but persistent,
and based on methods which compel the government to dialogue and create results
that do justice.
There is also the imperative to come up with a new architecture for tourism. Goa is
not just a coastline and beaches for people to come and use and despoil. It is not a
product that can be bought and sold as in a super market. It is much more. Goa is
about people and cultures, wildlife and forests, blue seas, white sands and a green
coast. It is not an abstract 'paradise' that tourists come to, convert into 'enclaves',
each according to nationality. For Goan tourism to be really what tourism is destined
to be, it should assume characteristics that promote an authentic human and social
development that offers spaces for sharing of goods, for rich cultural exchanges, for
approaching natural or artistic beauty, for an understanding of different traditions in
a just and equitable manner. Towards this, we must be resolute that the government
dialogue with CRT around a new tourism policy which is built on the real aspirations
of the people, which humanizes tourism and assures that it emerge us an industry
which creates authentic and equitable encounters between the visitors and visited.
Alongside, CRT's credibility will lie in being to pointto concrete alternatives-in-tourism
and develop community based mechanisms to make these alternatives workable.
The choice between reclaiming for the local communities the stakes of tourism in
Goa, and permitting the status quo, in which we may one day lose control by a profit-
led tourism industry, is ours to make. Not at some later date, but now. The power
of that choice is ours to adopt as a counterbalance to the force of apathy which has
led us to accept things as they are. If the question before us is: Will we accept the
challenges before us and move forward with commitment and courage? Our answer
will have to be: 'We shall. We must.'
Annexure 1 :
Alternatives-Badayl is an International Consultancy based in Goa, India and Palestine. It
seeks to support NGOs and civil society groups that wish to effect authentic and insightful
changes in global society. Based on the conviction that alert and agile NGOs and civil
society can be the harbinger of change, Alternatives seeks to support organizational
Transformation Processes which, in turn, enable and equip the Independent Social Sector
Organizations to effectively analyze the root causes of factors that shape our world and
formulate relevant and viable responses to these factors.
CARITAS - GOA
Caritas - Goa was established in 1962 with a mission 'to love and serve the needy
in action'. Through the various projects and programs it expresses in action the love
and care of God towards the needy, oppressed and the victims of natural calamities
and man made disasters securing them freedom for integral development. Caritas -
Goa is a dynamic expression of the Church's option for the poor, the destitute, the
ailing and the marginalized. It works to alleviate human sufferings and uplift those
challenged in any way, especially women and children whether physically, mentally
COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AND PEACE
Council for Social Justice and Peace was re-established in its present form in 2005.
CSJP functions with a vision to establish a society rooted in Gospel values where all
people of good will work in solidarity and live in harmony with nature and human
kind, where equality, justice, freedom prevail and peace reigns. CSJP accompanies
people in all their struggles to care for the earth, protect and promote the rights and
Human dignity and empower all especially the poor and the marginalised.
EQUATIONS is a research, advocacy and campaigning organisation working since
1985 on the impacts of tourism particularly in terms of rights and benefits to local
communities. We envision tourism that is non-exploitative, gender just & sustainable
where decision making is democratised and access to and benefits of tourism are