Panaji: Even as the opposition benches demanded austerity measures in tourism promotion, Goa government on Friday said that one and half crore tourists visited the coastal state during 2019-20, which was pre-COVID-19 times.
State Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar told the ongoing session of Goa Legislative Assembly that one and half crore tourists visited the coastal state during 2019-20. He quoted consultancy firm KPMG to claim about these figures.
State government on Friday faced united opposition led by Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai, who questioned spending of whopping Rs 33.68 crore on various tourism promotion events and Travel marts during last four years.
He also pointed out that the event management agency was paid its fees despite events being cancelled during COVID-19 pandemic.
Sardesai also said that two different figures about the arrival of tourists in the state during new year festivities was given by CM and Tourism minister.
He stated that while Tourism minister pegs the figure to nine lakh domestic and seven thousand international tourists, the chief minister had claimed that 45 lakh tourists had arrived to usher in New Year festivities.
The opposition benches including Sardesai, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat and others cornered Ajgaonkar, following which Chief Minister Pramod Sawant came to his rescue on the floor of the House.
The Chief Minister assured the House that Tourism Promotion Board, comprising of all the stakeholders, would be formed in near future, which will take call on all the events and promotional activities of the department.