Panaji, Jan 29 (IANS) Goa’s tourism sector is suffering from de-growth, the state’s industry captains said on Wednesday, while also expressing concern about the increasing negative publicity Goa tends to receive in the international tourism circuits.
In a pre-budget memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant ahead of the forthcoming budget session, chairman of the Goa chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industries Lalit Saraswat said, “The state government needed to address infrastructure issues related to the tourism sector and an increase engagement with industry stakeholders vis a vis charting out a future tourism promotion plans.”
“This (tourism) sector is witnessing a de-growth and a lot of negative publicity in international circuits,” Saraswat said in the memorandum. A string of murders of foreigners, crimes against visitors, harassment of tourists, poor infrastructure over the last decade has put tourism in Goa under the negative spotlight and has also led to a dip in tourist arrivals figures over the last few years.
The CII Goa chief also said, that there is need to set up a state tourism promotion board to oversee development and planning for the sector.
“There is a need to expedite the formation of the Tourism Promotion Board with more professionals from the Industry on board rather than political appointments,” he said.
The memorandum also urged the state government to regulate the taxi sector, which has in the recent past seen several strikes as well as violence from taxi drivers, who have resisted attempted to regulate fare pricing structure and opposed introduction of app-based taxi services in the coastal state.
“There is need to sort out the plaguing taxi-related issues of the State by implementing metering services as soon as possible,” the memorandum reads.
“The government should derive benefit from the experience and knowledge of Industry stakeholders while planning out country FAM visits and participation in (tourism) Marts,” it also says.
Goa is one of the top tourism destinations in the country and attracted seven million tourists last year.