Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte unveils Goa Beyond Beaches vision in Assembly

0
141

Porvorim: Tourism Minister Mr Rohan Khaunte told the House that the vision of this government is to explore Goa Beyond beaches and provide more immersive experience to the visitors by creating new tourism infrastructure.

Speaking during demands for grants, Khaunte said that there are lot of learning since COVID-19 pandemic phase for the tourism industry. He said that though the tourism faced setback during pandemic and even after that, the tourist footfalls have resumed to its pre-covid phase currently in Goa.

“Post-Covid-19 there are lot of learning and we have to start thinking about how to take tourism ahead. We are privilege to have G20 tourism ministers’ meeting in Goa. Every country has started moving towards tourism as an important sector,” he said adding that Goa is exploring the tourism potential beyond the beaches.

Khaunte said that the government is taking “some bitter steps” to have sustainable tourism for future generation. “We have been known as destination as beach and party life. No one knows about the hinterland. The tourist today wants to explore wellness, spirituality,” he added.

“We have to promote Goa beyond beaches. We can showcase hinterland, culture, tradition, cuisine. We are called as food capital of the country. We can look at village experiences, backwater. We can explore much more,” Khaunte said.

The minister cautioned that the destinations like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are emerging as new challenges for the coastal state.
These are countries which have started moving ahead in the tourism sector, he said giving an example of Saudi Arabia which is working on the project Red Sea Development that is being completed before time. Khaunte also said that the Bahrain is developing as a preferred wedding destination.

Asserting that the tourists should be provided with safe and clean beaches, Khaunte said 31 beach stretches are cleaned on the regular basis. We have to monitor it through app. “As we are trying to build up the tourist security force, in the last one year, we arrested 465 touts collecting a fine to the tune of Rs 13 lakh. We also need to have stricter laws against illegal touting,” he added.

The minister admitted that during COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry realized that it was too much dependent on the markets like UK and Russia. He said that the new markets are explored through better connectivity.
“Now we have to take advantage of Mopa airport without disturbing Dabolim Airport. We have tied up in 22 destination in tier II and tier III cities which never had direct connectivity. International connectivity is still a challenge,” he said adding that the state has already reduced taxation on aviation fuel to attract more Airlines.

Responding to the apprehension on model beach shacks, Khaunte said that model shacks are shacks that will come as models to showcase to the people. One will be in North and another in South. It will displaying the modern amenities in the shacks.
He said that in order to ensure that the tourists stay back for more time we need to give them opportunity to spend more by creating more infrastructure and services.
Khaunte also announced that Goa Taxi App would be launched very soon. It is App of the taxi operators. “When we want to change the perception we should tackle the fear and anxiety about the taxi services, water sports,” he said.

As a government we will support the water sports operators but at the same time, the tourists will not be allowed to be fleeced.

He also warned Goa’s taxi operators against sending tours of snorkeling and scuba to Malvan. “If we find a single person selling tickets of water sports at Malvan or Karwar in Goa, we will take action.”

Speaking about Dakshin Kashi, he said this government has started working on revival of Dakshin Kashi. “We have to work the backward history up to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and to the concept of Dakshin Kashi. We will also work to preserve the forts.”

The minister said that the government is coming up with the new heritage policy by August-September. We are also stressing on Caravan tourism. The facilities required for the same are being identified. We are also stressing on agro tourism.

He also spoke about nautical tourism policy.

Speaking about support from the centre, Khaunte said “ When we speak about double engine govt, PM has been very generous towards Goa to ensure that the state gets what they deserve. We are creating infrastructure using central funds for schemes like Swadesh darshan creating tourism circuits.”

Rubbishing the apprehensions on the jetties, Khaunte said the jetties which are constructed by Captain of Ports are not the new ones. They are existing jetties which are being revived with the concept of promoting backwater tourism.

About new tourism services, he said “we had signed MoU for new tourism services in the year 2016. We will give them deadline to start them. If they don’t do it, we will relook at it.

The way forward for the tourism is technology interventions like TIME software for data analysis, Tourism Marketplace App and automation registration process and automatic challen system which is in process, he said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here