Battered Goa to sell tourism on Twitter, Facebook

Thursday, April 15, 2010, 17:06 by Business Editor

The last couple of years have seen tourism hit a low in Goa, reputed as India’s beach paradise.

Thanks to the reports of several instances rape – the most famous of them was of Scarlett Keeling - and other crimes being reported in the national and international media. As if in an attempt to revive the flagging fortunes of the tourism scene in the beach state, the administration is looking at the e-route to make things work to its advantage.

According to sources, Goa is set to log on to social networking websites in its bid to restore lost glory. The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has plans to get on to Twitter and Facebook in an attempt at image building initiatives.

Officials at GTFC have been quoted as saying that social networking has the potential to help Goa reach out to new clients and also keep in touch with existing guests who have Goa on their annual holiday itinerary. If this works out, GTDC would be the first state-run agency to have its presence on Twitter.

Goa has been battered by bad press and travel advisories of late. The state, known for its sunny beaches, has been struggling to maintain its foreign tourist inflow after crimes against foreigners were reported extensively.

Though bad media coverage had been bane to the tourist destination, some amount of relief had come from  a steady inflow of tourists from Russia. Visitors from Russia almost saved the industry from disaster with around 40,000 arrivals recorded. The numbers are expected to go up with the state set to log on to the social networking websites.  On Twitter and Facebook, Goa will be trying to paint a positive picture of the state so that tourists from far and wide take note.

Our take is that Goa is messed up for a long, long time. Goa’s politicians are in the news, always, for corruption, assault, rape or sundry criminal charges. There is a strong stream of thought in Goa that foreign tourists – at least, the hippies – are ruining local culture. Even the state government is not immune to it – often suggesting that tourists cover up, and that local customs need to be followed – and trivialising crimes against tourists. Then there is the flourishing mafia and drug trade – but at least, drugs have always been part of any tourist hotspot in the world.

Social networking on Facebook or Twitter can boomerang if serious changes are not made in the way Goa is being run. When you have something to hide or are embarrassed about, going out into conversational media is not always safe. Clean up your house first, Goa!

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