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Church body urges Goa govt to keep tourism policy on hold

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Panaji: The Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT), a body affiliated to the Goa Church, on Friday appealed to the state government to keep the state tourism policy on hold, citing that it will not benefit the state and its people.

Last month, the state government passed the Goa Tourism Policy 2020, which recommends the formation of a state tourism board to facilitate development of the sector.

In a statement issued here, the CRT”s executive secretary Fr Freddy Braganca said, “The Goa tourism policy is a mirage, which will not benefit the state of Goa and its people.”

The policy lacks a basic empirical data on tourism in the state and is devoid of the necessary realistic statistics of the number of tourists, both foreign and domestic who visit the state, he said.

Fr Braganca claimed the policy conceals more than it reveals and is an attempt by the state government only to constitute another instrument, Goa Tourism Board (GTB) and divert tax payers” money to it through the Goa Tourism Development Fund.

“It is also an attempt by the state government to corporatise and privatise public resources,” he alleged.

The policy makes the GTB eligible to receive grant- in-aid, source funds from any state and Central government schemes, thus depriving stakeholders/citizens who are entitled to these schemes, he said.

The CRT has compiled proposals and suggestions, and submitted the same to the tourism department in the form of booklets titled “People”s Charter for Tourism” and “People Over Profits”, he added.

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