Panaji: The Draft Tourism Policy 2018 has been formed to allow backdoor entry to projects like marinas and Golf Courses which are strongly opposed by Goans.
The policy also seems to be an effort to give upper hand to Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar by completely making GTDC led by Dayanand Sopte redundant.
Consultants KPMG Advisory Services Private Limited has drafted this policy which would be hotly debated during the meeting on January 16 in Panaji.
The policy seems to be fully favouring privatization and handing over the State Tourism Department’s assets to “vibrant private sector.”
While policy speaks of handing over immovable assets, the doubts are also expressed whether they will also allow some stretches of the beaches to be privatized.
BYE BYE GTDC, WELCOME GTB
The policy has also tried to establish the place of Tourism Minister through formation of Goa Tourism Board (GTB), which will be completely replacing GTDC.
The GTB also seeks to play into the area of Investment Promotion Board.
The draft policy also speaks of forming Goa Tourism Board headed by the minister, which will take up the responsibilities which were till now handled by Special Purpose Vehicles like GTDC and also State Level Marketing and Promotion Committee.
MARINAS, GOLF COURSES IN TOURISM POLICY
The policy in its Core Tourism Programs has laid stress to “development standards and development guidelines for setting up small marinas and jetties at specific locations identified in the State.”
In the Leisure and Entertainment sector, the policy has also spoken about facilitating development of golf courses in the State on case to case basis proposals based on international guidelines with a conscious consideration of best practices to limited negative impacts on the environment.
AND CASINOS TOO
The policy has also said of creating “international class gaming cluster to relocate offshore casinos.”
In one of the important factors, the policy, which is designed by consultants M/s KPMG Advisory Services Private Limited, has stressed for the redevelopment of Tourism Department’s assets through “vibrant private sector.”
PRIVATISATION GALORE, BEACHES TOO ARE FOR A GRAB?
“Assets such as hotels, buildings, land and immoveable assets and so on shall be redeveloped through private sector participation under long-term lease or licencing arrangements, for development or operation and management,” the policy document reads.
“GTDC shall progressively play the role of facilitator and aid investments in the tourism sector and slowly disengage itself from commercial activities,” the policy has mentioned.
The document has also spoken about the transfer of properties to the private parties. “Transfer of infrastructure, as and when required shall be undertaken at acquisition rates for such land or property,” it adds.
SPECIAL INVITEES TO GUIDE TOURISM BUT WITHOUT POWERS
The policy has said that the department can invite sector experts as special invitees to meetings to provide technical advice to aid decision making. This may include experts in sustainable tourism, safety, town and country planning, engineering departments etc. But this is important “these invitees would not have the right to vote.”
STATE LEVEL MARKETING AND PROMOTION COMMITTEE TO GO
GTB will be the sole authority to decide on granting of permissions for tourism related events in the state.
The State Level Marketing and Promotion Committee and State Level Permission Committee shall be dissolved and activities of marketing and promotion shall be undertaken by Department of Tourism or GTDC under directions of GTB or can be undertaken on its own by the GTB.
Also, the High Powered Monitoring Committee for tourism shall be dissolved and all its roles and functions shall be taken over by the GTB.