Goan Politician Describes Domestic Tourists As “Scum Of The Earth”
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Vijai Sardesia and his high-end moustache.
The town and country planning minister for Indian state Goa has described most domestic tourists as “scum of the earth.”
Speaking at the Goa BizFest trade event, Vijai Sardesai argued for targeting high-end tourists from home and abroad, while slagging off the core domestic market.
Referring to visitors from Northern India, he said: "Today, we receive tourists who are almost six times the state's population. Those tourists are not the top-end tourists. They are also the scum of the earth.”
The rant continued: "Are they responsible? They are not. If you compare Goans to the rest of India, we are high in per capita income, social and political consciousness, we are much superior than people who are coming in."
Sardesai has previously made no secret that his preferred strategy to increase tourism revenue and attract higher-end visitors would ultimately drive 'lower end' domestic visitors away. He’s not the first to wish such a thing, but few have so obvious in their disdain for travellers on a budget.
"Goa should become so expensive that tourists should say that it is not worth coming to Goa. Which tourists? The Indian tourists. We must have high-end facilities and get high-end tourism, which benefits the sons of the soil," he said at a meeting last month, according to the Indian Express.
Despite a backlash, the minister remained unapologetic and claimed his comments were misquoted and not “xenophobic.”
Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar seemed to reinforce Sardesai's view, saying he would “chase away” tourists who do not respect “Goan culture.”