Use and abuse of tourism: the Goan experience

N. Brammer, John Beech

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The state of Goa provides an unusual example of tourism development. While responding with a measure of fatalism to the invasion of hippy tourists in the 1960s, some of whom remain in Goa today, Goans are rather more divided in their responses to the influx of mass tourists, which began over a decade ago. The onset of tourism on a large scale has produced pressures on both society and the environment. Reactions to mass tourism have been varied, but include the more organized forms of stakeholder resistance that are common in India. Major issues that have emerged center on the community's reaction to disputes over the use of land and, in particular, the use and abuse of beaches. This article first focuses on the history of conflict between two groups of Goan stakeholders: the small-scale entrepreneurs who seek a living from tourism through the running of beach shacks, hawking, and rave party organization, and the large corporate interests who have seen tourism development in terms of beach-front hotels and casinos, who see the market as an unsophisticated extension of sunlust tourism by Europeans. The conflict between these two groups is then studied in the context of the responses of a third significant stakeholder group, the Goan authorities, both in the form of the state government and the Goan police. The role of protest movements is also considered. The issues of land use, planning, and community involvement in tourism development emerge from the analysis as significant in critiquing the way that tourism has evolved in recent years. In a broader view, the issue of conflicting views of Goan identity by Goans themselves becomes significant. The article concludes that the development of tourism in Goa has started down an inherently unsustainable route for reasons grounded in the broader context of changes in both global and Indian tourism. It is only very recently that planning by the authorities and producers of tourist products has begun to adopt a resource audit approach. The major concern for Goan tourism is whether these more recent responses are well founded and sufficiently timely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-35
JournalTourism, Culture and Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

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  • development
  • emergent strategy
  • Goa
  • intended strategy
  • state
  • sustainability


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