Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country, attracts lakhs of tourists every year. According to the sources, more than 6 million tourists arrive in the state of Goa every year and this figure shows an upward trend with every passing year. There is no doubt that Goa is one of the topmost choices of destination in India for the foreigners. The increasing number of arrivals whether from the national or international reveals that fact that Goa is a most wanted destination for the tourists from across the world.
Goa has always had its share of tourist troubles — from the nudist beaches of the sixties to drug peddling, and more recently, to paedophilia rackets. Rape and sexual abuse are interlinked with drug abuse. It is indeed a concern for the Government and stakeholders of the Tourism Industry of Goa. India’s tourism spot Goa is fast becoming a centre for the sex trade and drugs. There are cases reported that many foreign tourists have been sexually assaulted in the past few years in the state. No doubt, the government has increased security for tourists and promised to take tough action against the culprits to avoid these incidents in the future. However, if proper monitoring is not done, then problems of law and order and rubbish will spell doom for state tourism. It is reported that about 85 per cent of sex workers operating in Goa and 38 per cent workers in the red light area in Mumbai are from Andhra Pradesh. Young girls supplied by pimps in Andhra Pradesh are slogging in brothels in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka and other States and the neighbouring districts in the State. There is no denying fact that: the sex industry in Goa is flourishing, even though it’s largely invisible.
Gradually, we are losing the image of an international tourist destination. No doubt, the Goa government, through the home department, is augmenting budgets to improve safety and security measures in the State keeping in mind the tourism industry and the importance of providing a safe holiday for tourists visiting Goa.
We find more and more domestic tourists are creating an imbalance to the kind of tourists visiting Goa. We have to be very sensitive towards tourism in Goa because the whole world is focused towards Goa. From time to time there are reports of ‘date rape’ or theft-related druggings, usually in busy, trendy tourist bars. The cases of sexual assault against women and young girls are increasing. There have also been incidents of attacks on women. Tourists, especially women, should not wander about unnecessarily at night. It is to be remembered that no person or a place is safe if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and hence blaming the entire state or doubting its integrity is incorrect. It would always be advisable to take some very basic precautions, avoid travelling late night, keeping your gadgets and wallet safe as you may sometime want to travel in the local buses, steer clear of drugs and not carrying many valuable items while travelling. There will always be incidents and unnecessary problems as long as people take drugs. It would be better if tourists, wherever they go, stay away from drugs.
Even the small things that happen in Goa become big news, international news. It is not as though the crime rate is high but it is also certain that if tourists die due to natural causes or overdose of drugs, Goa cannot be considered as unsafe. The tourists must also realise that India is a traditional setup and there is a certain amount of decency required.
Therefore, we have to take care that such things don’t happen. If the government really wants to control drug racketeers, they need to seriously take on the local drug lords rather than watch helplessly. Goa can only become the best tourist destination if the government acts on the intelligence reports it has gathered against drug abuse.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)