Call for facelift of Goa’s tourism ecosystem

Morjim Beach in Goa.

Facing a drop in tourist footfalls, the travel and tourism industry stakeholders in Goa have put out a litany of demands in a ‘White Paper’, which calls for a complete overhaul of the state’s tourism apparatus.

The White Paper titled ‘Reinvent Goa 1.0’, which was submitted to state Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Thursday, blames rogue taxi drivers, corrupt police force, lack of infrastructure to handle tourist volumes, inflated visa and tax structure as key issues for Goa’s tourism slip.

“Reinvent Goa 1.0 documents the crisis faced by the travel and tourism sector in Goa and offers workable short term and longer-term solutions. The recommendations are sourced directly from industry stakeholders to address the dip in quality tourism and drop in foreign tourist arrivals which is key to Goa’s tourism story,”
stated the white paper, which has been put together by the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, an influential body of industry stakeholders.

Goa is considered one of the most popular beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country, attracting nearly seven million tourists annually. However, over the past two years of haphazard development, increasing garbage generation, rising prices and harassment of tourists have led to a decline in tourists footfall.

Harassment of tourists by traffic police, who recklessly fine them, also finds mention. “Garbage littered everywhere puts off tourists, choking environment. What is needed is a focused enforcement drive,” he said. The white paper also calls for creating infrastructure which helps diversify Goa’s tourism bouquet, which includes amusement parks, a mega convention centre, promoting eco-tourism, etc.

The white paper claims that proliferation of cheap bed and breakfast outlets are killing the conventional hotel industry, remanding regulation of the sector. “The boom in unregulated bed and breakfasts, home-stays needs to be checked with compulsory registration of such facilities,” the white-paper says.

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