Backwaters of tourism

Maja’s day starts early, at around nine o’clock in the morning and continues until late evening. She walks up and down the beach, trying to sell her things. She is one of several vendours doing the beach-walk in Palolem, India, everyday. ”Do you remember me?” is a common opening question. ”Would you like to see my things?” and ”Very cheap!” Everything is sold; pirate copies of movies and music, bracelets and necklaces, stickers, beach doties, do Henna, manicure, pedicure, pinapple and coconut and much more. Many, as Maja, come from Rajasthan and travel in the beginning of each season  on the three-day trainjourney to Goa where the tourists are. They stay 6-8 months away from family and friends to earn an income and then go back.

Tourism is the prime industry in Goa, handling, according to wikipedia, 12% of all tourist arrivals in India. In 2004, there were more than 2 million tourists reported to have visited Goa, 400.000 were from abroad. The goal of 2020 is, says today’s Goan issue of The Times of India, to improve infrastructure such as roads and carparks, but also to change focus from only sun and beaches to promote the local agriculture, food and culture. A necessary thing, if, as said in the article, Goa want to be able to compete with other tourist attractions in the world such as Thailand and Malaysia. But with tourism travels problems such as drugs and prostitution, and worries are put forward that a whole genereation of Goan youngsters are lost in drug trafficking.

The pros and cons of tourism has been put forward in the local papers the last two weeks, very much triggered of a story of a young Russian girl being raped in Goa by a policeman. The story was lifted in the papers with the headline: ”Is Goa safe for tourists?”. Today’s paper pose a retoric question: ”But are Goans safe from tourism?”

New job opportunities are created and formed. The old one changes. The young man at the bar in Palolem used to as a kid run around an almost empty beach, where the only industry was fishermen. Now he works at one of the popluar hang-outs at the beach. And Maja, 37 years old with most of her family left in Jaipur, Rajasthan, has during the past five years done the journey to reach the tourists and business opportunity. How many foreign workers that reach Goa each season to work is hard to find an exact figure of.

How do deal with tourism is a delicate question. An interesting reflection of African cultural production and what attracts the global cultural entrepreneurs is written by Francis B Nyamjoh, Head of Publications and Dissemination in Sengegal, in ”Cultures and Globalization: The Cultural Economy”. Somehow relevant in Goa.

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Categories: Blogg Economy India

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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