Most millennials associate the state of Goa with the holiday plan that never worked out. Even so, the Goan economy relies primarily on tourism revenues to run the state (probably to make up for the losses over cheap alcohol). So even as we exist in a strange world where everything from hugs to holidays are cancelled, Goa has reportedly managed to have no confirmed coronavirus cases for over a month and thus been declared a green zone. As the tourist state slowly gets back on its feet amidst the lockdown, Goa’s tourism minister’s grand plan to revive the economy is to open the state but only to “wealthy tourists.” Last week, Manohar Ajgaonkar who is also the state’s deputy chief minister, made a press statement stressing that he doesn’t want backpackers and budget holidayers coming to the COVID-free state of Goa.
According to Livemint, he said, "What we are trying to do along with experts, is to take Goa back to the 1960s. We do not want tourists who consume drugs, cook on our roads or who create nuisance on beaches. We want good tourists who are wealthy and who can appreciate Goa and its culture.” He also kinda forgot that a major reason Goa, as with most other tourist states in the 60s, was known to have a thriving scene was because of its drug-fuelled full moon parties and that the very hippies he is deriding are the ones that made Goa the flagbearer of the counterculture that it came to be associated with.
Goa has come a long way from being labelled a drug-infested hippie haven, evolving from an Eat Pray Love backpacker vibe to a booming tourism industry, complete with hawker-filled beaches and floating casinos, that saw an average of eight million footfalls in 2019-20. But as the pandemic hits all tourism sectors hard, even green-zone Goa will take time to rebuild and revive its economy. "Until state-to-state level travel can happen we cannot do anything,” Ajgaonkar said. “I feel only when a vaccine is invented or a cure is developed, that tourism movement will begin to happen in Goa.”
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