Goa’s Tourism Minister: Integrating Sports for Multifaceted Development of State

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Panaji: The Goa government will promote sports tourism in the coastal State by expanding its vision, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said at the Sportstar’s Sports Conclave in Goa recently. “We never spoke about sports tourism earlier. Sports was one department, tourism was another, technology was another department,” Khaunte said.

“Goa is a preferred destination for your holidays. You come here to have a pleasant stay. When our government came in, we started talking about opportunities again.  We are looking to go beyond beaches; we are using the hashtag #GoaBeyondBeaches. It is our responsibility to relook at what we have been doing as states. Tourism is the chief economic driver for Goa, contributing approximately 16.43 per cent of the GDP and creating 30–35% of direct and indirect employment. This economical vertical can’t be monotonous. COVID times made people think differently.

“People switched to working from home. Goa started being positioned as a sports tourism destination. The state has actively promoted a #VacationGoa campaign to redefine its identity by leveraging technology. We said, ‘Let people come to Goa and start working. Today, digital nomads have found their space in Goa. This innovative strategy, encompassing the four ‘S’s of sun, sand, sea, and software, has evolved further with the addition of the fifth ‘S’: sports. By incorporating sports into our narrative, we are not only providing equal opportunities to the youth but also contributing to the multifaceted development of Goa.”

Last year, Khaunte spoke about promoting spiritual tourism in Goa by signing agreements with other states. “Destinations like Amritsar and Guwahati have been opened up with the start of operations at Manohar International Airport at Mopa. Flights are also starting from Dehradun (Uttarakhand), which will open up opportunities for spiritual tourism in the coastal state,” Khaunte told reporters.

Khaunte emphasised Goa’s mantra of prioritizing quality over quantity. “As we move to the hinterlands, we have started talking about adventure, wellness, spiritualism, Goa being a wedding destination, and many more verticals that can add flavour,” Khaunte said at the conclave. “Along with the per capita spend, we need to ensure that the next generation gets the best of Bharat and the best of the place we stay in. Goa is a small place with a lot of weight, not in size but in the way we drive ourselves. We ensure hospitality at its best here.”

The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, Goa Tourism, Indian Oil, Geno Sports Club, KSG India, State Bank of India, KPMG, Great SportsTech, Casagrand, and NewsX.

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