Known more for its beaches, Goa now wants to cash in on the tourism potential of backwater tourism on the lines of Kerala.
The state tourism authorities will develop infrastructure along the coconut palm-lined Mandovi and Zuari rivers, which flow into the Arabian sea, to ensure that beaches are not the state's only big draw.
The tourism department has prepared a blueprint for developing a backwater circuit each in North and South Goa, along the two principal rivers to add variety to its tourism bouquet, Goa Tourism Development Corp (GTDC) vice chairman Lyndon Monteiro told reporters in Panaji on Friday.
"We already have an excellent network of water bodies linking a lot of places of tourist interest. Our plan is only to interlink commutation services to these places by river," Monteiro said.
Lotus Environment, a Pune-based consultancy, has been roped in.
Jetties will be built along the river bank at places like Britona, Divar and Savoi Verem for tourists to alight and visit nearby places of historic, architectural, religious or scenic interest.
"A similar project has also been worked along the Zuari river in South Goa," Monteiro said, adding that work on the construction of jetties will begin next month.
The cost of the entire project has been pegged at Rs.16 crore (Rs. 160 million).
Over the last few years, Goa has lost tourists, both domestic and foreign, to the relatively well-managed beaches of Kerala, which also offers backwater tourism as an added incentive.
Goa annually attracts nearly two million tourists between October and March.