In a new initiative, Goa's Tourism Minister Rohan Khunte has announced that all beach shacks will compulsorily serve Goan food after complaints from tourists that finding local cuisine had become a challenge.
For many years there’s been a rising concern among Goan locals that the state’s innate culture and history is being lost to an influx of tourists and immigrants to the state. And if there’s one place in Goa that is a symbol of its identity, it's the beachfront shacks that are scattered along the length of the coast. In a bid to bring back the essence of Goa’s shacks, Tourism Minister, Rohan Khaunte met with shack owners, coastal legislators, and representatives to declare a mandatory shift towards serving authentic Goan cuisine at the ubiquitous shacks dotting the state's beaches.
This decision comes in the wake of complaints from tourists that many of the shacks were serving mainly Chinese and fast food. Khaunte emphasised that these shacks should cater to the essence of Goan cuisine, as that's what people seek when they visit them. Khaunte told Hindustan Times, "People come to these shacks to eat Goan cuisine, and many times we receive complaints from tourists that they go to shacks and cannot get Goan food. So, we have made it compulsory that every shack should offer Goan cuisine,”
He went on to add that shack owners served as the ambassadors of Goan tradition and so far, they’ve been met with a positive response to the initiative. Presently, there are 359 beach shacks lining Goa's coast, with a significant majority located along the renowned stretches of North Goa. Under the current shack policy, Goan youth are invited to apply and then through a lottery system, these applicants are granted space on the state's beaches to establish their shacks. About 90 per cent of these coveted shack slots are reserved for traditional operators, with the remaining 10 per cent allocated to newcomers.
This step is also designed to help boost foreign tourism as cheap international destinations are becoming more accessible and desirable for people looking for beach holidays. There is also a plan to establish Goa as an international wedding destination.