Goa’s Calangute Introduces Tourist Tax to Combat Rising Resentment and Preserve Local Environment

Goa's Calangute Introduces Tourist Tax to Combat Rising Resentment and Preserve Local Environment

Goa's Calangute Introduces Tourist Tax to Combat Rising Resentment and Preserve Local Environment

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Goa’s Calangute village panchayat has proposed a resolution to impose a tourist tax, requiring visitors to show proof of hotel reservation or pay a fee to enter the village. This move aims to finance sanitation efforts and discourage littering by tourists, addressing long-standing grievances of local residents.

Calangute’s sarpanch, Joseph Sequeira, explained that the decision was made after observing groups of tourists arriving in packed vehicles, littering the beach, and leaving without cleaning up. The tax, if approved, could be implemented as early as October, coinciding with the start of Goa’s high tourist season. This initiative may set a precedent for other beaches and villages in Goa to adopt similar measures.

The proposed tax highlights broader issues of resentment towards tourists and settlers in Goa. The influx of tourists has not only impacted the beaches but also riverfronts, paddy fields, and historic sites, often featured in social media posts. The popular Parra Coconut Road, made famous by the 2016 film ‘Dear Zindagi’, has become a hotspot for tourists, causing disruptions for local residents.

Locals frequently find themselves navigating through crowds of tourists, wedding photo shoots, and social media influencers blocking public roads. This frustration is echoed across Goa, where residents grapple with the negative impacts of tourism on their daily lives. 

Tourists are often criticized for their behavior, with instances of littering, vandalism, and inappropriate conduct being common complaints. In North Goa, tranquil neighborhoods have seen an increase in litter and noise, while Panaji’s Mandovi River area struggles with disturbances from casino workers and patrons.

The resentment extends beyond tourists to include those who have moved to Goa, such as wealthy individuals from Delhi and Mumbai, and lower-income migrants. This has led to rising property prices and environmental degradation, causing tension among different groups. 

The proposed tourist tax in Calangute is seen as a step towards holding tourists accountable for their impact. However, it also underscores the need for a more nuanced understanding of migration and movement. As Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid noted in his 2019 essay for *National Geographic*, “In the 21st Century, We are All Migrants.” Recognizing the inherent movement of people in search of better opportunities can help foster coexistence between residents and visitors.

The Calangute panchayat’s initiative is a reminder of the challenges faced by popular tourist destinations in balancing the influx of visitors with the needs of local communities. By implementing measures like the tourist tax, Goa aims to preserve its environment and heritage while ensuring that tourism remains sustainable and respectful of local life.