Goa Is Now Open For Tourism. But Does That Mean We Should Go?


Aug 24, 2020


Image Credit: Unsplash.com

Recently, a Mumbai-based travel content creator, Shenaz Treasury, came under fire for having escaped to Goa after the state government opened its doors to tourism. In her Instagram posts, we see Treasury exclaiming at the emptiness of Goa streets, reveling in the freedom she feels after being shut in her home under lockdown, and justifying her escapade as helping the state’s tourism industry. Soon after, Goans started commenting on her posts, some berating her for not wearing a mask, and others denouncing her glorification of Goan tourism during a time when the state is still seeing an uptick in Covid19 cases while dealing with an overwhelmed healthcare system.

Taking the microcosm of Treasury’s experience in Goa as a snapshot of how the tourism industry is coping amidst the coronavirus pandemic, we see a bigger problem reveal itself — that the health of a population is often at odds with their means of livelihood, and in trying to save the latter, we’re often forced to compromise the former.

Around the world, countries that opened up their borders to enjoy much-needed economic relief from tourism are now shutting down again, panic-stricken at the rise in Covid19 cases that accompanied the easing of lockdowns. Spain, for example, has shut down nightclubs again, whilst urging people to “not lose respect for the virus.” South Korea, which emerged as an early winner against the pandemic, is now battling a second wave, with triple digit-increases in coronavirus cases daily, all due to a holiday in May that became a trigger for new infections.

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These examples are ubiquitous, and are easily explained by a rudimentary understanding of the coronavirus pandemic — the virus is still infecting people. Despite Covid19 tests, rigorous mask usage, and social distancing, people are still vulnerable to contracting the novel coronavirus, and spreading it from one place to another, whether or not they show symptoms. Now, allowing tourism is not necessarily equal to sanctioning crowded parties, but we know from other parts of the world — most recently, Peru — that it’s a slippery slope, and subtle restrictions — mask-wearing, limiting the number of people allowed to congregate — are harder to enforce.

Now that the Goa government has opened up state borders, policing tourists who are reveling in their newfound freedom will be an added, difficult task that takes away from the state’s resources. The risk crowds of tourists pose is not just to the locals, but also to each other. This risk, of course, needs to be weighed against the economic cost people in Goa will incur, now that those immersed in the tourism industry have a chance to restart their livelihoods. But this is a messy decision, both for tourists and for locals who decide to go to work and expose themselves to people from far away. Just because the government has given the okay doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in everybody’s best interest to pack our bags and move to Goa.

Either way, there will be a trade-off — health versus livelihood, health versus travel, health versus mental peace. Now that Goa’s state government has made its decision and declared its priority, it’s up to the tourist to decide which trade-off they’re comfortable with.


Written By Rajvi Desai

Rajvi Desai is The Swaddle’s Culture Editor. After graduating from NYU as a Journalism and Politics major, she covered breaking news and politics in New York City, and dabbled in design and entertainment journalism. Back in the homeland, she’s interested in tackling beauty, sports, politics and human rights in her gender-focused writing, while also co-managing The Swaddle Team’s podcast, Respectfully Disagree.

  1. Varinder singh

    The author of this article is hypocrite as he has neither spoken for or against.Moutless media is wht media is restrict to nowdays n no guts…thy just want to be in safe ground n real journalism has extinct.

  2. Pranaya Ambiye

    Definately no, Goa being my hometown I have experienced the worst phase of managing people who live there and suspect of having corona. These people are not able to manage their own people. They will leave the tourists suffering and thats y please avoid this decison as of now.

  3. TheCrazyDude

    The situation in Goa is no different then anywhere else, I’m From Goa the tourist never stopped coming here the number just kept increasing and now this news will be the final nail in the coffin, most of the tourist who come are extremely reckless and don’t follow any rules, the attitude is I don’t need a mask it’s making me look bad in the selfies, people don’t give a shit ever since tourists were allowed in Goa the covid train just took off and dosent look like stopping any time soon.

  4. Hrishi

    The article isn’t in good taste. No need to single out a particular Instagram handle and particularly, few comments that are made there. It’s looks more like personal opinion article. I would say its been 5 months now and covid is here to stay like any other such viruses which are still around like Swine flu. It’s upto everybody to take care of themselves, build on immunity and face it. Enough of lockdowns.

  5. Sam

    It’s A NO … to all those wondering if they should or shouldn’t travel.

    What Mr Desai hasn’t mentioned here is that Shenaz… Also had another post where she has urged people not to travel yet.


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