Sun, 15 Sep, 2019

Tourism plan presentation - a flop show!

Seriousness of govt questioned as only 4 legislators make it to the event; Lobo says entire exercise appeared to be futile

Story: The | Goan | 17th January 2019, 03:58 Hrs

PANAJI: A presentation on the Tourism Master Plan for Goa’s tourism saw the turn out of only four MLAs or one-tenth of the strength of the legislative assembly throwing into question the seriousness of the government in the exercise that the government has committed ₹5-crore for. 

Speaking to The Goan, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo who was one of the four MLAs -- the other three being Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo, Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha and Sanvordem MLA Deepak Prabhu Pauskar -- said that the entire exercise appeared to be futile.
“At this juncture tourism policy is not required, tourism master plan which is being made and three crores being spent is down the drain, it has just gone in the gutters. Every time a new minister will come he will want to do a new master plan a new policy for tourism. This is just not wanted,” Lobo said speaking after the meeting.
“Masterplan is done by KPMG. No stakeholders are taken into confidence. It was done in 2016. Not implemented for the last two years. Nobody has looked at it. No director of GTDC, no member of the board has looked at it. It is a waste of three crores of government money,” Lobo added
The tourism minister has been facing the flak for a poor tourism season and his willingness to meet the tourism stakeholders especially the members of the TTAG who have gone public with their grievances that the minister has not met them for the last two years despite several attempts at an appointment.
“I feel that tourism, master plan and tourism policy is not going to take us anywhere. Each and every stakeholder needs to be taken into confidence before coming out with the framework of the tourism policy,” Lobo said.
“I am totally not for this policy, because it is only going to take away our five crores, already our three crores are taken. Even now they just want to wrap it up without calling the stakeholders,” Lobo said.
The Tourism Department has claimed that the master plan and the policy is open for tourism suggestions but has been derided across the board including by the Centre for Responsible Tourism a body backed by the Church in Goa.
Lobo has instead suggested the government bring discipline on the roads especially along the beach belt.
“Stop people drinking on the footpath. On the promenade on the beach, breaking bottles. Minute you stop this you will see that that crowd will stop coming to Goa. They don’t want to drink in a shack or a restaurant, because they know it is expensive. They just want to buy and just come on the beach and get drunk and look at women,” he said.
“We have failed to put these things in place and we are trying to bring in tourists from Germany. For what? To show them this?” Lobo said.


Sentinel like scheme to
tackle tourist nuisance?

PANAJI: Tourism Minister Manohar (Babu) Ajgaonkar suggested a mechanism where locals can click photos of tourists creating a nuisance and send it to the tourism department to act against.

“It is very clear: If anyone sees anything (going wrong) click and send me a photo,” Ajgaonkar said adding that they would try an put a formal mechanism in place soon on similar lines to the traffic sentinel scheme of the Goa Police.

While, the Tourism Department had earlier started a mechanism wherein locals and tourists alike could click and send photos of unattended garbage along beaches, that was stopped after government negligence allowed the beach cleaning contract to lapse.

It is yet unclear how the tourism department will act against errant tourists upon receiving a photo as, unlike vehicles, tourists are difficult to track down.