The state of Goa, in India, is famous for its beaches and places of worship, and tourism is its primary industry. Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. Foreign tourists, mostly from Europe, arrive in Goa in winter whilst the summer and monsoon seasons see a large number of Indian tourists. Goa handled 2.29% of all foreign tourist arrivals in the country in 2011. This relatively small state is situated on the western coast of India, between the borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka and is better known to the world as a former Portuguese enclave on Indian soil. Tourism is said to be the backbone of Goa’s economy.
Influenced by over 450 years of Portuguese rule and Latin culture, Goa presents a somewhat different representation of the country to foreign visitors. Major tourist attractions include: Bom Jesus Basilica, Fort Aguada, a wax museum on Indian culture and a heritage museum. The Churches and Convents of Goa have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
As of 2013 Goa was the destination of choice for Indian and foreign tourists, particularly Britons, with limited means who wanted to party. The state was hopeful that changes could be made which would attract a more upscale demographic.
On 24 November 2017, Delta Corp Limited claimed to have set up the first casino game training course centre in India, at Goa.
Goa’s beaches cover about 125 kilometres (78 mi) of its coastline. These beaches are divided into North and South Goa. North Goa is more commercial and touristy with an abundance of mostly low and medium budget tourist accommodations; whereas South Goa is where most higher–end hotels and private beaches are located. A notable exception in South Goa is Palolem Beach which features basic accommodation and is one of the most visited beaches in Goa. The further north or south you go, the more isolated the beaches get. Some of the more popular beaches are Colva, Calangute, Baga and Anjuna. These beaches are lined with shacks that provide fresh sea food and drinks. Some shacks arrange special events to attract more customers.
North Goa beaches
|– Blue Flag beach – Camping area – Scuba Diving or Snorkeling area – Jet Skiing area – Surfing area – Lifeguards posted – Fishing area – Swimming area – Wind Surfing area – Parasailing area|
North Goa beaches
|Dona Paula Beach|
South Goa beaches
|Cabo de rama Beach|
Sea plane service
The government of Goa conducted trials of a sea plane on the Mandovi river on 23 May 2015. The test plane took off from Dabolim airport and successfully landed in the Mandovi river. The sea plane service had started post monsoon since 2015.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary harbour Goa’s rich bio-diversity. Foxes, wild boars and migratory birds are also found in the forests of Goa. The avifauna includes kingfishers, mynas and parrots. The famous Dudhsagar Falls, India’s fifth tallest at 310 metres, is located inside Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary at the Goa – Karnataka border.
The renowned Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on the island of Chorao. The endangered olive ridley sea turtle can be found on Morjim Beach in Pernem, Northern Goa and Galgibaga Beach in Canacona, Southern Goa. The turtles are listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Act. Morjim Beach is also host to a number of migratory birds during late September to early April. The area surrounding the shore at Tembwada in Morjim also abounds in various species of birds. A number of international bird watching tours are organised in the area.
There are several museums located in Goa:
- The Goa State Museum set up in 1996 aims at centralising and preserving antiquities, art objects and objects of cultural importance, depicting the different aspects of the Goan History and Culture. It is located at Patto in Goa‘s capital city of Panaji.
- The Naval Aviation Museum near Dabolim is one among three of its kind in India.
- Goa Science Centre, located at the Miramar beach in Panaji. was opened in December 2001 and it houses many wonders of Science and Astronomy.
- Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery located in Old Goa is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.
- The Museum of Christian Art has a number of paintings, sculptures and religious silverware dating back to the 16th century.
- ‘Ancestral Goa’ is dedicated to the preservation of art, culture and environment and was established to preserve Goa’s past and its rich traditions. This magnificent project is the result of a lot of meticulous research, planning and hardwork. Located in Loutolim, it opened to the public in April 1995.
A special attraction of this project is the sculpture of Sant Mirabai strumming on her tambori and measuring 14 meters by 5 meters which was chiseled in Greco – Roman style from a vast expanse of laterite stone by Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares in just 30 days.
- The Big Foot Cross Museum is located at ‘Ancestral Goa’ in Loutolim. It is an unusual collection of crosses, from all over the world.
- The Pilar Museum is located on the Pilar hillock where the Pilar Seminary is also located. The Museum was founded by Fr Costa, and highlights various finds on and around the Pilar hillock and now preserved in the seminary museum.
- The ‘Wax World’ Museum, inaugurated in 2008 is located in Old Goa contains exquisite wax statues. The statues have been sculpted by Shreeji Bhaskaran,who owns the museum and is also responsible for giving India its first wax museum located at Ooty, Karnataka, which was set up in March 2007.
- ‘Goa Chitra’, established by Victor Hugo Gomes, is an ethnographic museum in Benaulim showcasing traditional Goan farming implements and other Goan antiques.
Another major tourist attraction in Goa is its heritage homes. A legacy of the Portuguese colonial regime of more than 450 years, some of these palatial homes are now converted into hotels while many are still inhabited by the people. The popular heritage homes in Goa are:
- The Fernandes house, also known as ‘Voddlem Ghor’ in Cotta is an architectural marvel in Chandor.
- The Menezes Bragança House in Chandor was built circa 1730. It was once owned by Luís de Menezes Bragança, Tristão de Bragança Cunha, Beatriz de Menezes Bragança, and her sister Berta Menezes Bragança.
- The Vivian Coutinho House in Fatorda is among the few Goan houses with decorative Azulejo tiles.
The administration of tourism in Goa lies with Minister for Tourism, Dilip Parulekar, and Secretary and Director for Tourism, Mathew Samuel (IAS). Other stake holders in Goa tourism are the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (A Government of Goa undertaking) and the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG). Prachi Desai has been appointed as the face of Goa’s Tourism.
Goa Tourism Development Corporation
The Goa Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (GTDC) carries out tourism commercial activities like conducting sight seeing tours and river cruises. It also manages 12 hotels with a total of 525 rooms.
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