Describing sustainable tourism as a “tool of development and prosperity”, Archbishop of Goa-Daman and Diu Filipe Neri Ferrão simultaneously cautioned that if the tool was wrongly used, it could devastate and exploit human beings, cause loss of traditional occupation, social values and culture and degrade the environment.
The Archbishop was releasing two books that examine in detail the concerns of excessively commercialised and indiscriminate international tourism on the tiny coastal State’s environment, ecology and life and culture of the people, at Bishop’s Palace here on Saturday.
The books titled The Challenge and Prospects of Tourism in Goa Today and Claiming the Right to Say No have been published by The Centre for Responsible Tourism, an initiative of Caritas – Goa and the Council for Social Justice and Peace (Goa Church-affiliated bodies).
The first book examines the Goa Church’s response to fallouts of tourism and initiatives to reverse the impact in ways that brought a human face to tourism and result in benefits of tourism reaching local communities.
The book speaks in detail about the establishment and working of the of ‘community groups’ that serve as ‘tourism monitors’ of their own areas.
On a positive note, the book explains how the Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT) had taken steps to empower the sub-sectors of Goan tourism.
“As a way of Goan self-assertion, CRT decided that it was paramount for the Centre to work with tourism’s three 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”, says the book edited and compiled by Ranjan Solomon. The CRT contests negative foreign travel advisories and address the question of negative media publicity particularly during the Christmas time and has proposed a code of ethics for responsible tourism.
The second book Claiming The Right to Say No, is a action research project conducted by a group of seminarians to help understand the travel patters and behaviour of Israeli tourists in Goa.
The work supported by Church-affiliated bodies examines the diverse aspects and fallouts of the activities of Israeli tourists in State’s remote beaches. It inter alia says: “Israelis are not neutral, they tend to influence the people with whom they live, and mostly the effects are disastrous. The Israelis don’t contribute anything to Goan economy.’