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Carnival - Red & Black or just a Black-out??

7 years 4 months ago

The very word Carnival translates into enjoyment, fiesta & celebration, a festival people wait for annually, unfortunately the Goa Carnival over the years, has turned out to be far from a true celebration of sorts!
Am taking this opportunity to comment on this special event, as I happen to be a part of the tourism & event business in Goa since the last ten years and it hurts to see the way we undermine & ignore opportunities that could not only add value and flavour to the lives of our own citizens, but also become an integral part in the promotion of tourism from around the country & world into Goa!
Goa is the only place on this part of the globe to be known for decades for the famed Carnival celebrations, celebrations that have been instrumental in putting destinations like Rio & New Orleans on the worldwide tourist map.. Unfortunately due to lack of enthusiasm & support from the right corners, we have let this opportunity go by as just another event and this year instead of what could have been a tourism booster, has ended up being a deterrent to tourism instead! Take the example of  a tiny destination like Seychelles who for the first time this year, hosted a Carnival, promoted it amongst its own citizens & the world and in turn saw a 7% growth in international tourism! Our Goa Carnival this year, did not even manage to attract the national media!
Though the floats keep getting more & maybe a bit better each year, thanks to the drive amongst every little town & club adding to the celebration, traditional celebrations & dances have been a dampener with the authorities actually stopping the famed Red & Black dances, just about the same time as they started.. The Red & Black dance has for years been attracting not just elite locals but also repeat tourists from around the country coupled a sprinkling of international tourists & charter representatives who partake in the spirit of this event, right from shopping for the right coloured attire for the evenings! It was most unfortunate to walk into the venue just after 10 Pm, only to find sad faces mourning in silence, happy people who had come forth to celebrate their last evening before the start of the Lenten month of fasting..  Why cant our government take up relaxation of the Madhya Pradesh sound act, that really destroys the very charm of this state, that’s known for its celebratory attitude which has made it the most successful stretch of the Indian coastline?
Last year, I had the opportunity of discussing with the erstwhile tourism ministry a plan to take the Carnival to yet another level, giving the state the opportunity to market this 3 day festival on all platforms and bringing Goa on the worldwide Carnival map.. Unfortunately this year, our tourism head-honchos were not even present in Goa during the Carnival, rather  happened to be on a road show in the USA, trying to promote tourism in Goa! Right when we have an opportunity knocking on our doors!!
Recently claims were made in the assembly of mega plans involving various departments in creating a road map to promote Goa internationally.. What road map can one create when we lack basic direction? For starters, let us take this festival to another level, we need to have a task force created by joining hands between the ministry, tourism heads, international tour operators, airlines and a reputed marketing & advertising agency that can showcase Goa as being the only place on this side of the globe where the Carnival is a celebration worth making into a holiday idea and not a bunch of hastily created floats & police officers roaming the streets to stop the festivities that have been a tradition for decades!! We need to stop being petty, we need a system of planning and most of all, we need support and consistency from the authorities, who need to take a little effort in self-education for starters, on how to take Goa’s tourism to its justified levels both locally & internationally! My aim is not to bring about criticism, rather realisation of the opportunities we are forfeiting and letting go, whilst we spend millions on promotion in foreign trips & wasted efforts..