Recently, I read a report on how repeat international visitors to Goa are upset about overcrowding in the state, and the deplorable hygiene situation on its beaches have become an eyesore for visitors. This isn’t the story of Goa alone; most popular tourist destinations in India are saturated, and therefore are facing hygiene and crowd management crises.
While destinations are making strides in digital promotions, what is required is large scale investment to develop tourist amenities and attractions in the state, and this requires public private partnerships at varied levels. One can take a leaf out of Gujarat. At its recently-concluded Vibrant Gujarat Summit, it signed 10 MoUs to the tune of INR 770 crore for tourism development. These funds will be utilised towards developing a submarine tourism facility in Dwarka, a four-star resort, and an entertainment zone and culture theme park.
At times like these when there is ample world-class infrastructure available across established destinations, what states in India require is to offer attractions and facilities to make our destinations more tourist-worthy. And this isn’t restricted just to create extraordinary experiences, but also bring in international sanitation and crowd management techniques to the fore.
It’s time we diversify tourist traffic and bring in some stringent hygiene practises to create standardisation of facilities. It is important to admit here that the responsibility doesn’t lie with the municipal corporation alone. It is an entirely state responsibility and there needs to be a proactive approach from the authorities to seek active participation of private players to maintain and manage our tourist sites, and create a conducive environment for welcoming a steady flow of domestic and international tourists alike. A case in point here is the Interim Budget where Nirmala Sitharaman has laid emphasis on comprehensive development of tourist infrastructure at the state-level through interest-free loans, and creating a framework to assess destinations on their facilities and services being offered. This is a step towards creating and showing to the world the best that India has to offer.