Responsible Travel in Goa and why it should Matter

Goa has been a favourite tourist destination in India since the 70s. Started as a part of hippie trail, Goa soon become a favourite shooting location of film industries of India and early 90s made it the first popular tourist destination inviting honeymooners, solo travellers and anyone who wanted to enjoy a little bit of sun and sand.

Goa is the perfect tourist destination in India. The food of Goa is amazing, the beer and alcohol is cheap and one can find nice stay options in every part of the state. Goa has backpacker hostels near every beach possible and the AirBnbs of the state provide a tryst with authentic Goan – Portuguese culture.

But with time, Goa has become a victim of over-tourism. Irresponsible waste management, food and drinks served in plastic, depleting marine life, loss of wildlife are just a few of the many examples that have ruined this destination from where there is no coming back.

 

But as a responsible traveller, you can help resolve these issues on your personal level. Small steps will help improve the condition of this pristine state of India and its aura will remain alive in times to come.

Here are a few tips that will help you travel in Goa more responsibly.

Book local stay homes and indulge in conversations about responsible travel

In Goa, a number of locals run their stay homes and Airbnbs. It is easy to book one especially when you want to avoid the typical hotels around beaches and enjoy some local experiences. When you book a hotel, you support a local business and this gives you an advantage of indulging with your hosts. Locals understand the importance of responsible tourism and conversations on topics like Global warming, climate change, ocean life and waste management will surely bear some result and they’ll share these ideas with their friends. This is not possible at a hotel or a resort.

Volunteer with a waste management organization if you are here for a longer time

Goa has recently seen emergence of many waste management NGOs and trusts that conduct regular cleanup drives around various beaches and tourist spots. Yimby is one of the popular ones that is based in Panjim. They update their social media profiles with regular dates for upcoming cleanup drives. If you are in Goa for a long time then it makes sense to join one on a cleanup drive.

Avoid drinking around beaches

Goa is synonymous with drinking but many tourists take their bottles of beer and glasses of alcohol around beaches. Your glasses of cold drinks, tequila and juices are not to be consumed around the beaches. The glasses and bottles are often left there and it goes in the sea which harms the marine life.

Reduce your plastic consumption especially around the shacks on beaches

Plastic consumption can easily be reduced in Goa. Instead of mineral water bottle, you can easily keep a reusable bottle. You can always say no to straw or choose a restaurant that offer paper straws. Goa may be putting a ban on single use plastic but that will still leave a lot of items that we use in our daily lives.

 

Dispose your waste carefully

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// In the last few days, I have realized that a lot of people are concerned and aware about the issue of plastic but they don’t know what to do about it. Part 2 . Talk to 10 people in your locality and they’ll tell you that how nicely they pack their waste in a black plastic bag and then throw it in the community dumping ground from where someone comes and takes away all the garbage. Ask them if they know about segregation and they won’t have a clue. The biggest problem that comes during recycling in India is that waste is not segregated properly. Most of the cleanup drives I have been to (excluding waste warriors), the concept of segregating doesn’t exist at all. All the volunteers are interested in is filling up their bags. . Why there are green and blue garbage bins at public places? It clearly says dry waste and wet waste, yet if you take a look (only in India), it will be filled with plastic bottles. Reasons, 1) people don’t care 2) the management doesn’t care and 3) those who care or want to care don’t have time to raise this issue. . If people, instead of religiously following a plastic free life, quitting straws and only using bamboo toothbrushes, segregated their waste and questioned their local authorities that why this waste is going to a dumping ground and not to a recycling centre, a lot of problem will be resolved, especially if said municipal sends the single use plastic to recycling plants. . But then, in 90% of the cases, the waste ends up at landfill and stays there for ages. The sooner we move away from single use plastic to things that last long and are easily biodegradable, the faster we will see some positive change. . (but still we can try) . . @huffpostin @himalayangeographic @india.today @travelbloggeres @bbc_travel @cnntravel @nytimestravel @incredibleindia @outlooktraveller @lonelyplanetindia @natgeo @cntravellerindia @true.colours.of.india @bhaarat.chitra @travelrealindia @travelandleisure @roughguides @intrepidtravel @voyaged @worlderlust @artofvisuals @indian.photo @verveindia @travelandleisure @healinghimalayas @instahimachal  @himachalpictures @devilonwheels

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Continuing the last point, there is no control on consumption of plastic and other non-biodegradable items. So if you are buying such items that you think will not decompose then you should dispose them carefully in a dustbin. Proper disposal of waste atleast gives the confirmation that it will be picked up by the authorities even if it ends up at a dumping site. Waste Bar Goa also offers free can of beer if you collect 5 empty cans and pay it as a fee. So there is a nice activity for you.

Trek Responsibly

Goa is just not popular for its beaches. It is also popular for many treks especially around East Goa. Dudhsagar Falls, Tambdi Surla and Todo Waterfalls are just a few of the destinations that pass through wildlife sanctuaries or protected areas with immense biodiversity. When you plan a trek, inquire if walking on that route is legal or not and if it is approved by Goa Tourism. When you are trekking, maintain the route the way it has been. Don’t throw plastic and pluck off flowers from the route. Try not to disturb the wildlife by bursting out loud music.

Report sick/injured animals to animal shelters

Moving away from the issue of plastic and waste disposal, Goa is also one of the regions with a huge movement of vehicles. It is easy to rent a bike, car and taxi in Goa. Constant movement also puts many stray animals in danger. If you come across any such injured animals then make sure that you connect with an animal rescue centre.

Avoid water sports around new beaches

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Baga and Candolim are two of the most popular beaches in Goa. But there are offbeat locations with less tourist population where people like to spend their time seeking some peace. Sadly, water sports have come up at these locations that are very much harmful to underwater life. Offbeat beaches are home to more animals as they don’t find the tourist friendly beaches an ideal habitat. When you choose watersports at offbeat beaches, the lives of these animals is also put in danger and they are forced to find a new home. This is also true in case of birds as they have to flee once human activity and noise increases in a region.

Keep an eye on turtle nests

Offbeat beaches are also used by turtles as nesting grounds. In the last few years, the number of these turtles has gone down due to tourist activity and pollutants in the sea, but there is a small number that occasionally comes to Mojrim and Agonda Beaches to lay eggs. If you are doing beach walks, make sure that you don’t stumble upon an egg or break it by mistake.

You can connect with Goa Turtle Nesting Centre at 098811 80540 in such cases and they’ll send someone.

Vanshakti is another NGO in Goa where you can connect in case you find an injured turtle or stray egg.

Avoid elephant farms and camps

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There are many elephant farms and camps in Goa that offer ride to tourists. These animals are kept in harsh conditions and are only used for the entertainment of Guests. As a responsible tourist, you should not encourage this behaviour and always say no to these activities.

Don’t feed dogs or any stray animals

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Goans beaches are infamous for stray dogs and other stray animals. These animals wander around in packs and are fed by tourists. The problem is that once the season goes away, the animals start harassing the locals which often results in bites. If you stop encouraging this behaviour by not giving them food, they’ll learn to stay away from humans.

Since animals get food easily, they also get more time to breed and hence the population has gone up. Let them find their own food so that the breeding slows down.

Don’t encourage begging

Begging is a very common issue in the state. Since it is assumed that westerners have a lot of money, some people find it easy to beg and make a living. The state also has a begging mafia running their business. We should stop encouraging beggars by offering them money. Also, one needs to report to police if they find something suspicious about them.

Responsible travel is the need of the hour and one must make sure that they are contributing their part in the well being off this beautiful destination.

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10 thoughts on “Responsible Travel in Goa and why it should Matter

Add yours

  1. Wow! This is so revealing and highly informative. Before now, I used to think over tourism was always a good thing for the city or state but here’s a different picture.
    The government of India could also do a little extra by putting up signs discouraging dumping of plastic bags and the likes. Also, those cruel elephant gamers deserve likkle jail.
    Thanks for sharing Daily Passenger!
    P.s. I saw on the news that the whole population of India has been on complete lockdown. How’s it down there?

    1. Hey, thanks a lot for dropping by.
      Yes, we are in a 14 day lockdown right now. But it seems that it will extend for a few more days. Hope we come out better and stronger than that.

  2. I appreciate all the explanations of the article. It’s true that we never think about the damages that tourism could create.
    Usually tourism is a good thing for States but we have to analyze the situation for each States and sometimes discourage dumping of plastic bags. This is very important also for helping the environment and other lives.
    Thanks for letting me think about these things.

  3. I am totally agreed with all above points you shared. Over tourism is killing the Goa and it is damaging the environment. One of the major step needs to consider is banning of Plastic and efficient waster management. Government should ban all the animal related activities even though they are for the tourists nd earning revenue for them. Great Points.

  4. Travel is not about visiting the places for the first time and documenting the experiences. We should amplify the new definition of travel by sharing our knowledge to places we visited and help them how to improve their local tourism. These simple ways you’ve mentioned about will give so much positive impact on the society, and to the future of travel.

  5. Very thoughtful post and some very important points have been put across. I am glad that you suggested volunteering for waste management, staying with locals and swimming sobre. Actually, its not just Goa but many places had become victims of over-tourism. But now after COVID 19 and in these social distancing times, a lot of things will change. And I think now is the time for fresh start with new and better habits.

  6. Thanks for sharing some great insights on being a responsible tourist in Goa. I think the government needs to take strict actions on not allowing alcohol bottles on beaches and made it mandatory for people to drink in a glass. Similarly, everyone should avoid using plastics and practice ethical tourism practices on their trips!

  7. It is a high time when we should realize about responsible travel. I loved your options for Responsible travel in Goa especially booking local homestays or promoting local product. Also not drinking on beach is a great idea and I would also support this. Volunteering for waste management is a very noble cause to do here in Goa. I always try to use re-useable bottle for carrying drinking water.

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