From commercial to hinterland tourism, Goa tourism has it all!
On the western coast of India is a state that needs no introduction. Known for its beaches, churches, temples, and historical sites – Goa is a much-sort after tourist destination in India. From the very beginning, Goa tourism has been striving towards bringing Goa’s unique identity to the fore. This journey has got Goa on the world map. Over the years, the scene of tourism in Goa has not only changed but evolved.
In the beginning, it was just the beaches, waves, palm trees, and scenic shores that got people attracted to Goa. Even before, tourism in Goa picked up, the locals were the ambassadors. Whenever visitors would come to see Goa, they would happily take them around and show them some places. This also helped them to make a little pocket money. Gradually, people started to open doors for tourists. They set up rooms, food stalls, and other necessities. People even recall a time when the fishermen would take tourists out into the sea on their boats, thus pioneering the concept, now popular boat cruising. This warmth and hospitality gave visitors a sense of belonging and love. The affection that they received from people here made them come back year after year and spend their vacation in Goa.
Many foreign tourists made Goa their home. While for others Goa became one of the must-visit places in the world.
In the early 1970s, Goa became home to hippie travelers, who settled along the coastal belt. Some came here in search of enlightenment and others to break free from the mundane life. In Goa, they found a home. Some congregated along the Colva beach in South Goa others enjoyed a carefree lifestyle in Anjuna. Tourism in Goa then started to expand its horizons and happily welcome international tourists. Shacks, food outlets, and tourist places in Goa started to bloom along the coastal belt. This gave way to the stakeholders and the government an opportunity to establish new ventures in the tourism sector.
In the year 1982, Goa Tourism Development Corporation Limited (GTDC) was set up to look after the commercial activities of the Government in the service industry of tourism in the state.
The coastal life
Beaches along the coastal belt like Calangute, Baga, Colva, Anjuna, etc. began to see many tourists annually. Historic sites like Old Goa, Aguada, Chapora, Panjim, Dudhsagar, Mangueshi and many others started to become popular places in Goa.
Churches and Convents of Old Goa which date back to the 16th -17th century were declared as World Heritage Site by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In the year 2013, Goa became the destination of choice for both Indian and Foreign tourists. Water sports, shacks, clubs, and other adventure activities became a popular sight during the tourism season.
Goa which sits in the cradle of the Western Ghats also saw several wildlife sanctuaries, and national parks like Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, and Netravali Wildlife sanctuary becoming popular attraction showcasing Goa’s rich biodiversity. These parks and sanctuaries were a portrayal of Goa’s rich flora and fauna. Amidst this was the Dudhsagar Waterfall, the fifth tallest fall of India. Even today many come to experience this mighty fall.
A bird sanctuary located on the island of Chorao – Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a place where people still go to spot some of the many migratory birds that make their way to Goa.
As the face of tourism kept changing, hinterland tourism also got a boost. Goa’s local life started to get the much-required attention and this was indeed a real opener into Goa’s heritage. Local food and drinks started to be marketed uniquely. ‘Feni’ and ‘Urrack’ got popularized and are inching towards becoming a popular international brand. The portrayal of Goa’s folk forms at various events and programmes gave Goa a unique cultural identity.
Today, several Heritage and tour companies like Make It Happen conduct walks and experiences that take you closer to the real side of Goa.
Heritage homes, luxury stays, and more…
Today, if you go around Goa, you will find hotels, homestays, and heritage houses offering stays in line with comfort and luxury. Several five-star and four-star hotels have established themselves in Goa. There is definitely a place and space in Goa, that suits everyone needs.
Tours and other activities
If you are planning a trip to Goa and don’t know what to do or where to go. There are various travel designers like Make It Happen, who showcase Goa’s rich side and take you around places like Old Goa, Chandor, Fontainhas, Divar, Panaji to give you a real experience of Goa. You get a close experience of not only its history, culture, but of its local cuisine, music, art and a lot more. These experiences help you to understand Goa in a much better.
Various E-bike tours, bungy jumping, kayaking, motorized paragliding, scuba diving, birdwatching, hot-air balloon rides are offered by the Goa Tourism today.
A constant effort of GTDC has also been to improve Eco-Tourism in Goa.
The current scenario
More than just a weekend getaway, Goa is now a popular tourist destination in the world. In the pandemic, the state saw many make Goa their ‘workstation’. People stayed and worked from Goa. In recent times, it has become a popular ‘workstation’ destination.
Goa also continues to be one of the top venues for wedding destinations. The dream of a beach wedding that got popular with celebrities now sees many fulfilling their dream here in Goa. It is also a hub for startups, various schemes and programmes are allowing startups to introduce newer ventures here in Goa.
With the changing times tourism in Goa has evolved and brought in several opportunities for the communities and increased the state’s economy.