SpeakGoa Speak Up for Progress campaign – Feb, March 2013
Wednesday, 23rd January 2013 – Panjim, Goa: SpeakGoa – a non-political, non-profit, Social Awareness Forum based in Canacona in South Goa will launch the SpeakGoa Speak Up for Progress awareness campaign. The primary aim of the campaign is education of Goemkars on various social and economic issues with the main focus on Goa’s Economy. The campaign will be conducted over two months – February and March 2013 and will include skits, stage shows, street plays, seminars and other events over the length and breadth of Goa. The aim of the SpeakGoa Speak Up for Progress campaign is to spur the authorities and government into promoting business ventures that add employment opportunities for the youth of Goa.
Says Salvador De Costa, a former economist with The Stock Exchange, Mumbai and now general secretary of SpeakGoa, “For almost 25 years, Goa and Goans have depended on the hordes of foreign tourists who flock to the state of Goa from November to February each year and spend weeks, if not months here. These low and medium-budget foreign tourists fuelled the economy of a state heavily dependent on the Tourism and Hospitality industries to keep it afloat. However, with the neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka boosting their tourism efforts the number of high-budget foreign tourists coming to Goa over the last few years is going down. This year there has been a considerable drop in the number of high-budget foreign tourists. Even those who come, stay for shorter periods and move to other locales within India. The reasons for this are manifold. The rising cost of living, rents, room tariffs, fuel and other basic commodities is one reason. The main reason though is the huge influx of low budget all-male gangs of local tourists from other states of India who swarm over all the beaches of Goa in the bargain destroying the calm, quiet and privacy of the beaches.”
Explaining this further, De Costa of SpeakGoa says,”Ten years ago, a female foreign tourist from Denmark or Germany could walk even topless on certain beaches both in North or South Goa without any eyebrows being raised. The local goan would turn and look the other way and not disturb the female tourist. Today this is absolutely impossible and unthinkable. It is a known fact that foreign female tourists prefer to lounge in their bikinis on the beaches and even walk to their hotels. The all-male gangs ogle, whistle and make howling noises which upsets the tourists with many of them staying away from Goa over the years. This trend began about 4 years ago and word-of-mouth is fast spreading in Europe and the US. Bulletin boards and online tourist forums are abuzz with gossip and comments that Goan beaches are no longer the sun bather’s delight. In the light of the above, the State should promote other businesses in Goa on a long terms basis and encourage the services industry in Goa. Lakhs of Goan youth work in call centres in Mumbai, Bangalore and Gurgaon. The government must offer incentives to businesses to set up base in Goa and employ Goan youth,” said De Costa.
SpeakGoa has launched a blog speakgoa.wordpress.com to elicit responses and comments from Goans worldwide. It’s Facebook page at facebook.com/SpeakGoa also provides a forum and platform for comments. The blog and Facebook page will be fully functional from 26th January 2013, said De Costa.
Those who wish to participate and support the SpeakGoa Speak Up for Progress campaign in any capacity may contact SpeakGoa on editor.speakgoa at gmail.com with their full contact details