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‘Expect 10m tourists over next few years’

15th February 2018, 05:15 Hrs

the goan I network
PANAJI
Goa has the capacity to host as many as 15 million tourists with the necessary improvements in infrastructure, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said even as he said he reprimanded his cabinet colleague Vijai Sardesai for his recent outburst against ‘scum’ tourists.  
Responding to a question over whether Goa is facing the “pressure” of domestic tourists in the state, Parrikar said the state has the capacity to absorb more.  
“Basically Goa has a capacity of –  from my judgement, and from some discussion with stakeholders, if we spread thin – we have the capacity of holding 15 million. With current infrastructure, the capacity is hardly 50-60 lakh (0.5-0.6 million). That is why you are seeing the load. But if we improve, like for example Mandovi bridge, Zuari bridge, four-laning of the roads, then the hotels, garbage facility, we can easily take ten million without a problem,” Parrikar said.  
“So in next one or two years, the enhancement of capacity will be near ten million. After that, if you want to increase further, then you will have to spread it,” Parrikar said.  
“We should be ready for ten million. That time what we did, was we spread the Goan season from September to February to round the year. You will find people coming in winter, summers and rainy season also. Now we need to spread it across Goa. I am not spelling out (the plans). You will realise in my budget how I am trying to spread across Goa and you will also realise how we need not depend on mining alone and we should not be depending on tourism alone. Wait for my budget speech,” Parrikar said.  
The Chief Minister said that the BJP rule in the state coincided with a huge spurt in tourism growth while the same stood at ‘Hindu’ growth rate (which according to Parrikar is 1 or 2 figures) during the Congress tenure.  
“During my tenure in those 51 months, we increased it to 26 percent compounded. Again it stagnated till 2012, it was 26 lakh in 2012, from there to 70 lakh is because of the policy of the government. Now it is around 7 to 8 million. Next two years it will cross 10 million,” he said.