Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

TTAG tears into Ajgaonkar, says he has not met them even once

Story: The | Goan | 12th January 2019, 03:09 Hrs

PANAJI: Stung by an unusually poor season Goa's apex tourism industry body - Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) - trained its guns on Tourism Minister, Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar, claiming that he has not met them even once since taking over in March 2017.At a press conference organised amid sharply declining footfalls the TTAG highlighted how lack of State Government support is negatively impacting them.
Savio Messias, president of TTAG, said: “The present tourism minister does not want to meet us. Since he has taken over as the tourism minister, we have never met him despite repeated requests. We have met other ministers like Mauvin Godinho (regarding GST), Nilesh Cabral (regarding power problems) and some others. But, unfortunately, we are yet to meet the tourism minister.”
Messias also said that a TTAG delegation had met Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar, when the
government was formed in 2017 and had urged him to appoint a dynamic tourism minister.
“He (Parrikar) promised us we would get a deserving tourism minister and that he would
monitor all the files. Unfortunately, over the last two years, it has not happened,” he said, but admitted that the declining trend in tourism footfalls in Goa had begun a couple of years
ago during demonetization.
"We at TTAG are very much concerned about it. We decided that we need to take note of this and wake up the government so that we can work together and help stall this downward trend,” he said.
In the press conference, which lasted close to 50 minutes, Messias and other representatives of TTAG outlined a number of issues, which they alleged cropped up primarily due to government apathy.
“The State is full of garbage, beaches are filthy. Due to this, we are losing lot of footfalls.
Europeans don’t want to come to Goa to see garbage. There are always fights between government
departments as to who should control beach cleaning and it is going on for years,” Messias said.
The TTAG also highlighted State government’s failure in allowing app-based aggregators and meters from being implemented, and claimed it is one of the major issues affecting the industry in the State. It urged the government to implement taxi meters and apps and to introduce penal provisions against taxi operators and drivers.
Messias also said that the traffic police personnel are the worst offenders and harass tourists.
“They (traffic police) for no rhyme or reason stop tourist and rental vehicles all over Goa as if to
say that if you are a tourist, you must be a criminal,” he said.
TTAG’s representatives also faulted the government for marketing Goa in an "unprofessional manner" at various international travel marts where officials who are not professionals treat the overseas trips as mere junkets.