Athiti Dev(il)obhava

Athithi devo bhava…


What about the responsibility of tourists, nobody talks about that, not even the effervescent travel bloggers.

Yesterday we went Basilica Bon Jesus at Old Goa, the place was swarming with tourists.

The guidelines to tourists are placed all over the Basilica, “Do not photograph people” being the most prominent one. yet the tourists, were blatantly clicking pictures of themselves, using selfie sticks. When the security personal objected, they would steal the selfie and gloat about it.

There was one particular crowd standing right in front of the board that said do not click people and went trigger happy. So Mr.Aamir Khan do you have something to tell the tourists? About responsible behaviour?  This is just some stuff to help you with the script.

Tourism  no doubt plays an important role in the economy of Goa, that does not mean that tourists are “Devo” or gods, they people we welcome into our homes, it is an interaction of mutual respect, there are certain norms to be followed.

There is a concept called responsible tourism, this was defined in AITR’s 2005 resolution it goes like this == responsible tourism complies with the principles of social and economic justices and exerts full respect towards the environment and its cultures. It recognizes the centrality of the local host community and its right to act a s a protagonist in developing a sustainable and responsible tourism. Responsible tourism actuates to foster a positive interaction between the tourist industry, local community and the travellers.

Here is what probably most local host communities look to

To minimize environmental damage caused by the carelessness of the tourist and growing destruction to environment corresponding to the growing tourist influx.

To give the local population a central role in the tourist development of their own territory.  That the involvement of the local community through a participatory democracy and in decision making process is essential for sustainable touristic development.

To respect the local culture by including its essence in the overall touristic experience by focusing on and creating awareness of the local culture , its traditions, the lifestyle, the gastronomy, the handicrafts etc.

Maybe next time any of you decide to travel to a terrain, you could keep an open mind, particularly when you come to Goa, yes we are different from rest of India, but we are not very different from the west coast culture.

Respect human rights particularly privacy and decorum in public places.

Help to preserve the natural environment that you have come to see, there are wildlife and habitats that need to be safe guarded.

Each place has its own cultural resources that are the document of the history of the people, please respect it, selfie in a Basilica, or loud hooting is Salarjung Museum is disrespectful.

When you buy something you do contribute to the economic and social development of the place, try to see that you can pick something that is truly local.

In your Google search do look at the cultural expectation at a place, like not wearing run down shorts into a temple or church, not clicking pictures within the prayer houses,  not scratching the edifices, along the way.

These are just small gestures that reflects you culture and your upbringing to the host community. It is about your dignity…

I hope soon the Basilica will come with deposit your mobiles rule like the Thirupathi Temple.

A Park… to car-park!!

Trees cut out from the Nuxem cross road.
Trees cut out from the Nuxem cross-road.

Yesterday afternoon, I was returning from work, the normally comforting cool drive from Bamboli to the university quarters has been totally destructed with all the trees uprooted, and the excuse given is that it is development the roads are required to achieve international standard. As far as I can see we have been hosting the international riff-raff since the flower child era.

Actually the double, roads the KFC and the domino’s are for the domestic tourist. Well that’s not what is worrying me.

We had thickets of trees and shrubs forming small green islands, for the last two days these shrubs and thickets have been cleared and huge SUV’s from various resorts have parked their vehicles there, their drivers loitering, walking into the university quarters, and piddling against the walls.

cars from various resorts parked in the groove.
cars from various resorts parked in the groove.

Isn’t it mandatory to have parking places marked out in such buildings?

Okay Mr.Sharad Pawar  and all the bigwigs have bribed the right people to ensure that their property value doubles with the double road, though I would think that more greenery would mean higher property rates anyway I am stupid environmentalists so I do not understand the language of progress. All the same I think it must be quite possible to have trees planted as dividers, and trees replanted on either side.

Is there anyway we can ensure that at least some of our green cover is regained.