Essay on a Cultural Tourism Product. Siolim as a New Cultural Tourism Destination in Goa, India
Essay on a Cultural Tourism Product
Siolim as a New Cultural Tourism in
Goa is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in India. It is known as a beach lover's paradise, and its affluent history and culture. It also well known for its wildlife parks, the forts and monuments of Aguada Beach, heritage hotels, fishing, rivers, boating, canoeing and water surfing at the various beachside destinations of Goa. However development in infrastructures has made it more easily accessible. The distance can be travelled by approximately 45 minutes or one hour from Mumbai city and all the metro cities () The product is a cultural package tour to Siolim village in Goa. It mainly highlights the indigenous tourism and the community indulgence to promote tourism. Siolim village is situated in the interiors of Goa. It is a small village with a population of almost 10000 people and lives under poverty. The language spoken is Konkani. Siolim is very pleasant during the winters and the monsoon time. It is very famous for its culture, traditions, sea food, historical monuments, handicrafts, traditional food, churches, beaches and wine which are prepared by extracting coconut water. The village gives an exotic feel of living in a remote place away from the modern amenities. The revenue generated by this village is through a wine factory which is the only source of income at present. So the local government with the consent of local people decided to develop this village as a tourist destination.
By promoting this product as a tourist package will indirectly help in uplifting the economic condition of the village. It will be a new product and has a great potential of gaining authentic experience for the tourist market.
There are various definitions of cultural tourism. The simple meaning of culture is a way of life people live and behave in their own habitat. Craik (1995b) says that Cultural tourism is a tailor made tour to visit other cultures and places to learn and gain knowledge about those people, lifestyle, heritage and arts in an informed way that authentically represents those cultures and their historical insights (Cited in Craik, 2001). Some of the observations from Smith (2009) brought him to the conclusion that culture combines both the upper and lower classes which were segregated earlier.
As Stebbins (1996, 1997) has commented, cultural tourism is a form of (cited in Enevoldsen, 2003, p.15). Cultural tourism gives an opportunity for the host community to show their culture to the world. It also helps in maintaining their identity. However it has been argued by Turner and Ash (1975, p.129) Modern tourism is a form of cultural imperialism, an unending pursuit of fun, sun and sex by the golden hordes of pleasure seekers who are damaging local cultures and polluting the world in their quest.... Tourism is an invasion outwards from the highly developed metropolitan centres into the uncivilised peripheries. It destroys uncomprehendingly and unintentionally, since one cannot impute malice to millions of people or even to thousands of businessmen and entrepreneurs. (cited in Burns, 1999, p.77)
Introducing tourism in Siolim village will be like transforming a living and personalized culture into a tourist attraction. It will be funded by the local government. Tourism in this village will indirectly lead to economic development.
Indigenous tourism location is usually in inaccessible area with poor infrastructure amenities and limited access of tourism market. According to Smith (1996b, p.287) habitat, heritage, history of the place and the handicrafts describes indigenous tourism as a cultural based visitor experience. This type of tourism is basically well known for its high culture, heritage, handicrafts, value and tradition. (cited in Zeppel, 2001, p.235). It is usually controlled and functioned within the groups. Hinch and Butler (1996, p.9) defines which indigenous people are directly involved either through control and/or by having their culture serve as the essence (cited in Smith, 2002). One of the types of indigenous tourism would be community based tourism where the community is involved directly or indirectly. According a mutually supportive, geographically specific, social unit such as a village or tribe where people identify themselves as community members and where there is usually some form of communal decision making
Since the community hospitality is very essential for visitor satisfaction, involvement of the locals is very important. A study was conducted amongst Cretan community groups like the local residents, the business people for their perceptions, views and preferences on tourism development.
However the study shows that the community supports the tourism development when they find that it is beneficial for them. It highlighted their preferences on the types of tourists who visited. They rather preferred better quality and higher spending tourists. They were against mass tourism which was disrupting their island. It showed their interest in different types of tourism with eco friendly amenities. While some argued saying that the island was over developed and it may over exceed the carrying capacity. This study also brought up some opinions for development like improvement in the infrastructure, water and power supply, accommodation facilities, public services etc. (Andriotis, 2005). All these factors prove that a tourist destination can be successful only with the support of the local communities. Hence they play a very imperative role in the tourism industry. Tourism in Siolim village will commence taking into considerations all the above factors. Cultural tourism will help the community to generate foreign revenue and gain employment opportunities. This added income will be utilised for the welfare of the community. But more emphasis will be given to maintain their cultural identity as a host community. Hence value and customs originality is given an utmost importance. This product will be open for the tourist market twice every month to retain its traditional value as means of sustaining self image, recognition, its unique identity and status of the host community (Cave, et al., 2007) and also taking into considerations the capacity of the visitors (mass) which might harm the fragile resources of the village. Here the tourists will not only gaze the culture of the village but also will be participating in day to day routines of the locals. return enriched with knowledge of other places and other people even if this involves gazing at, or collecting in some way, the commoditized essence of othernes (cited in Richard, 2007, p.4). It would be a perfect example of authencity. However there are different perceptions of a cultural tourist.
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Some of the cultural tourists are those who genuinely want to experience culture. Some take it as a religious or pilgrimage experience, some of them want to experience culture which is different from their culture and the other type would be cultural tourists who are researchers and students. (Kolb, 2006) Siolim is primarily targeted for the culturally motivated tourists having thorough knowledge of culture and who are in constant search of experiencing cultural sites or attractions. They are the people who genuinely want to know about a destination and want to know the behavioural concept of the local residents. They have a good knowledge of culture and have better education. They are financially well off. Majority of cultural tourists are women. In short they are in constant search of new knowledge and experiences. Siolim village as a product can also attract ethical tourism as the main reason for a tourist to buy ethical holiday will be a better quality product whether that means roving in small groups or to some secluded places. (Weeden, 2002). The tourist will visit this village not only to see its natural beauty but also its rich culture.
Proper interpretation of the culture is very important and tourists usually prefer a local guide familiar with the destinations history and culture. Taking into consideration this factor, it will be a three day guided tour including all the services like accommodation, food and travelling. The roads are not very well developed so most of the distance will be travelled by cycle which will be available on rental basis in the local shops. A facility of cycle-rickshaw, which would be in operation, can be helpful for those less able to walk long distances. Accommodation for the tourists will be provided within the heart of Siolim village in form wooden houses with iron roofs and tents specially designed for the tourists giving the feel of living in the house of local residents. One batch of tourists will include 15 visitors keeping in mind the adverse effects of mass tourism which may hamper the regular lifestyle of the community. The tour will include a visit to a wine factory on the first day. Here the tourists will get help the workers of. All the necessary information about the variety of wines which can be made, the picking time, the process or the method of making the wine and how the climate helps in inducing the flavour will be explained. (Symon, 2005). Visitors will be able to buy the wine directly.
Meals will be provided in a very authentic and typical Goan restaurant with its traditional food with a wide variety of seafood which Siolim is famous for. The tourists will then temple. Detailed information will be provided about the history of this temple, why people believe this goddess and what kinds of offerings are presented. Evening would be a walk to the market which includes buying and selling of the local needs of the villagers like groceries, fruits and so on.
The second day will start with a visit to an ethnic massage centre. The tourist will be given the traditional massages with natural and medicinal herbs and the extracts of coconut oil made only in Siolim. This type of massage is believed to be rich in maintaining and enhancing the eternal beauty.
Tourists will be educated about the different kinds of herbs used, its preparation and its benefits. They will be taught to make the different types of massage oils. The visitors will then visit to a lake which is a sacred place for the villagers since they believe that Goddess Durga has her blessings in it, which can cure health problems of the villagers. So the tourists are allowed to gaze it from a far distance.
The villagers are very protective about this place and would not like to expose it as they believe that it that it might result in over exposure of their fragile resources and the political pressures might take undue advantage of it. Even photography and filming is strictly prohibited to this place. (Kirtsoglou and Theodossopoulos, 2004)
The third day will be a visit to the am Panchayat which is the office of the chief head of the village. It is a place where the chief solves the day to day queries of the villagers. The tourists will be allowed to give their suggestions in front of the forum and sometimes the suggestions may be implemented if the villagers feel that it is beneficial. The afternoon will be a tour to the souvenir shop which will have different form of arts and crafts. The money collected from souvenirs will be used in the development of the village like promoting education and literacy, providing food and shelter for the poor families, enhancing some of the sites within the village which can further be promoted for tourism and so on. The profits will be earned primarily by them. (Kibicho, 2004). The souvenirs sold will have a government endorsed stamp which would be symbol that the souvenir is made by the villagers. It will be followed by a local folk dance called Bhanap and music. Detailed information will be provided about the history of the dance and music and how it originated. The tourists can participate and also learn the dance. The sound of the folk music creates a very pleasant and jovial kind of atmosphere. This event will give them an opportunity to know the locals in person. (Kirtsoglou and Theodossopoulos, 2004)
This destination is targeted with an aim of attracting international tourists for its authentic experience. However the word authentic is a difficult concept as it would be like interpreting a particular place, event etc as, suppose to be in a form of commodity through tourism. Because according to MacCannell (1999, p.49) tourist is a kind of contemporary pilgrim, trying to seek authencity in other places and time away from that persons everyday life. (citied in Urry 2002, p.9).
Getz (1994, p.425) great importance in the context of cultural tourism and particularly event tourism. Although some believe that authencity is an absolute, determined by a complete absence of commoditization, many (cited in Richards, 2007, p.20)
However many authors have argued that cultural products today may be interpretation of the past but may not be shown in the way it actually used to be. However, most of the cultures in authentic 3 cited in Urry, 2002, p.9)). Also a modern tourist is aware that what is been displayed might not be completely authentic but it may be a blended process with commoditization.
Cohen (1988) further argues that the local culture generally is presented in front of the tourists in a form of commodity which changes the meaning of cultural product not only for the locals who feel exploited but also for the tourists. According to him the cultural products presented to visitors might be modified to meet the visitors demand. For example the Kathakali dance performance lasts for more than four hours for the Indian audience but it is modified and performed for about half an hour for the tourists. Sometimes even the tourists may not be sure whether the performance present in front of them is authentic. However according to him it does help in maintaining the local identity which is diminishing in fast developing countries. But according to me authentic experience depends on the typology of the tourists. For an instance niche or an indigenous tourist will crave for authencity but a tourist with a purpose of leisure might not be more interested in authentic experience and will accept it for the sake of experience.
The belief is that a tourism product can be commoditized keeping in mind its benefits for the host community without changing its core values, customs, traditions and cultural norms which will automatically result in authentic experience. This will not only keep the locals satisfied but the tourists can also gain its uniqueness in its own way. An authentic experience would be actually experiencing the culture as it is meant to be without changing its originality. Also, a lot of cultural tourists are in search of such type of authencity which is why tourism in Siolim will be successful. (Kirtsoglou and Theodossopoulos, 2004)
Tourism in Balinese village whose visitors had augmented at an average annual rate of 7.6% between 1981 and 1990, 12% for international visitors and 3.4% for domestic visitors, so there were approximately 1.9 million visitors in 1990 out of which 60% were foreigners. The government of
Balinese examined tourism as a tool for economic development and raising the standard of living of the villagers. A plan for tourism development known as the Bali Tourism Study was organized. This plan had set many policies and regulations for sustainability in the villages but the active involvement and community decision making of the villages was somewhat successful as it was restricted to some phase. (Wall,1996). One more example would be the Andean community of Taquile Island in Peru. In
1998 the international arrivals to Peru increased 11.5% exceeding by 4.7 times the world rate of 2.4% estimated by the WTO. A high amount of public participation was found in this island which benefited the locals in many ways. The locals were not only involved in managing tourism but also in planning and developing. Most of the people were on multiple jobs and even the seven years old children earned part time income by handicrafts. Most of the restaurants were owned by group of families.
Guides, boats, tourism related services, restaurants, handicrafts shops and even the tourists agencies were owned by Taquilenos. This helped the island in gaining economic development.(Mitchell and Reid, 2001). The above instances gives a very precise information which is strongly supports the product presented.
Compared to other tourists attractions in Goa, a package trip to Siolim village is been designed in a very unique way keeping in mind all the sensitive factors involved in tourism. There is another cultural event which usually happens every year in Goa, that is Goa carnival which is also one of the famous tourist attraction but it is a staged authentic and also seasonal. What makes it unique is the tourists can not only gaze its culture and traditions but can also vigorously participate in their day to day activities. The tourists will not only help the villagers in solving their problems but will also help them in their work. Tourism will help the villagers to build their position in the international market, and attract both high spenders and loyal tourists, who appreciate the uniqueness of their resources. Here the tourists can assist the local residents and can still enjoy their holiday.
Promoting such kind of product will benefit not only the locals but also the tourists who will gain some insight of the locals. The tourists will get an authentic experience. It will be like a training ground to understand the values and cultures, as the tourists sacrifice their comfort in order to interact with local commun of satisfaction of making an attempt to help the villagers. It will give them an insight of how the locals live and struggle to earn their living. Apart from experiencing the village life the tourist will have a feel of diverting their existence from everyday life (Cave, et al., 2007). The tourists might also feel connected spiritually with the culture by participating. They might also develop a sense of respect for the villagers for their friendliness and warm welcome and hospitality. (Ingram, 2005)
Apart from tourist it will also benefit the villagers. This product will generate revenue in terms of foreign exchange and provide lots of employment opportunities to the villagers which maybe in forms of tour guides, the local tour operators, from arts and crafts, transportation, food and beverages etc.
Since the local people will be involved in decision making it will not only provide them economic benefits but they will also do their jobs enthusiastically. Economic benefits will lead to development of the village such as developed infrastructure and services such as water, sanitation, drainage systems etc which will enhance their quality of life. The villagers can also think about promoting other types of tourism in their village like food and wine tourism, heritage tourism and health tourism since they have the resources available. It will also be a good example for the other villagers to get motivated by such kind of tactics to promote tourism.
Every industry has its own areas of concern. In agreement with Turner and Ash (1975) who suggests that tourism to some extent is damaging the culture and traditions of the society (cited in Burns, 1999). Under stress many destinations face social, environmental and cultural impacts. As mentioned by (taken from the laptop) some of the economic impacts would be that the locals would earn high rate of foreign exchange, so they might not concentrate on other revenue generating sections. They might only depend on tourism as their source of income which might again lead to inflation. Some of the social impacts would be that some of the younger generations might get easily influenced by the tourists which may result in negligence to their culture. Too much indulgence of the tourists in the villagers life might create bitterness in the villagers. There is also a possibility of conflicts between the younger and older generations. The tourists become victims of crime as they carry large sums of money and they are easily identifiable (Cooper, et al., 2005).Some of the environmental impacts would be that there may be an over use of the natural resources scarcity of water and electricity, air, water and noise pollution, ecological disruption etc.
Hence to minimise the impacts and run the business would be a true form of sustainability. Br that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet able to improve the economic standard of living of the locals, and at the same time protect the natural and cultural surroundings.
Hence to have a sustainable tourism in Siolim the villagers should be involved in planning and managing sites. But there is a possibility that this village may further lead to mass tourism if not properly planned. This can be controlled by reducing the amount of tourists. Hence some principles need to be adhered strictly to promote sustainability in this village. One of the ways to reduce mass tourism is promote premium prices. Visitor safety is also one of the key issues which should be given importance. So some security service provision is must. Workshops should be held with the visitors prior to the visit educating how to behave and respect the culture. The tour operators can provide a leaflet or informative guides to brief them about the destination. The natural resources once damaged cannot be replaceable hence their usage should be kept to its minimum. This can be done by creating awareness in both the visitors and the villagers. (Buhalis, 2000). Also access to several places in the village for the tourists can be prohibited by the villagers if they think that it might be inappropriate. A friendly attitude of the host community is very important. A cultural interpretation sign on various sites can also help the visitors to wander around the village (Zeppel, 2002). Siolim can attract visitors not only through its cultural theme but also by providing the best quality of services and value for money.
The destination should also promote domestic tourism. Improving the level and output of tourism training is very important. There should be mutual relationship between the villagers and the tour operators so that the product can be promoted properly. Along with this appropriate amount of funding is required for the right type of marketing and promoting this destination by the government (Boniface and Cooper, 2005). The guides should be provided with a good quality of training which will help to give appropriate and acute information about the destination. The village should not rely completely on tourism and keep its other sources of income ongoing.
The package tour will be marketed taking care of the ethical issues of tourism. The tourists will be in a smaller size which will minimise the impacts on the lifestyle and mass tourism.
Fair amount of profits will be distributed amongst the local community. The employers will be given fair amount of wages. A very clear and honest promotion will be done so the visitors are not left dissatisfied of what has been delivered. (Weeden, 2002). A one month advance booking needs to be done in prior. The target audience for this product would be the cultural and niche tourists. All the services provided to the right from accommodation, food to transportation will be provided by the local communities. Safety of the tourists and the visitors will be taken into consideration. A meeting will be conducted amongst the locals providing them with proper education about the package and how it will benefit them. This will help the villagers to raise their concerns on how it can be controlled. Because the local residents are the real people who know their resources well and can also help to tackle the major concerns which can lead to smooth running of the business. Here the locals can put up their suggestions in planning for a sustainable tourism development. These issues will further be discussed in the local meetings which will be held every month. An agenda will be set to follow all the guide lines laid out. This will be further circulated to the local government which will help the local government to work on the areas of concern because it will be the locals who will interact with the tourists and they can lend their professional hand. The package will be presented through travel intermediaries who play a very important role who have further links with the local travel agents.
However it will also be launched through internet. Internet access helps the consumers to gain information about the destination and the decision making power whether this product should be purchased. It also reduces the dependency on the intermediaries. By representing the destinations in establishes their capability to attract the appropriate volume and quality of consumers. The local operators will provide the large travel agencies with the information about the destination and the materials for promotion. This will lead to its advertisement on internet and broad cast media. This will include detailed information about the attractions of the village. Since it is a new tourist destination several promotional offers will also attract the visitors which may be in the form of discounts if booked in advance, offers for families, discounts for disabled etc. Also the government will cooperate in promoting the product by promoting the destination on the airports, newspapers. (Kolb, 2006)
To conclude Siolim village has a great potential to promote tourism in the village. By keeping its cultural values as a main focus and utilising it for the economic development of the village will not only help enhance the life of the locals but this destination can be recognised as a pillar for its own identity. This is possible by involving the villagers in planning and developing procedures. By implementing the right policies and procedures this destination has a future and potential to create its own recognition in the world.
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