Panaji: With the tourism industry starring at the slump in footfalls for the ongoing season, the stakeholders have demanded that leadership in the State should act instantly to save rest of the season from further downfall.
The stakeholders blame it on the absence of tourism policy for decreasing response of holidaymakers to spend their time in Goa, which is also increasingly becoming destination with lack of tourism infrastructure.
“Last one year, we have not done enough for tourism. Lot could have been done. I would attribute it to number of factors like frequent transfer of top level officers and also lack of dynamic leadership,” Savio Messiah, President, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), said on Monday.
Messiah, who is himself a hotelier, said that Goa needs to gear up and improve the facilities which are offered to the tourists.
“Unfortunately, government seems to be on a different mode. They are in election mode and changing of ministers and portfolios has affected the industry,” he said.
Messiah said that the government and stakeholders of tourism industry will have to sit down and find a way out to remove all hurdles and problems.
“Right now, with code of conduct government officers are on election duty and minister is campaigning, due to which rest of the things have taken a back seat. We need to look at image building and branding and improvement of areas where we are weak,” he said.
State tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar, earlier this year, had admitted that there was a decrease tourists’ arrivals. He had assured to put in place the corrective measures, but the industry has continued reeling under the lack of response.
Ajgaonkar was not available for comments but a senior Tourism Department official said that all the attempts are made to take corrective measures.
“We are well aware about the situation. Corrective measures would be put in place no sooner the Code of Conduct is over,” he said.
But on the ground, things seems to be turning grimmer.
“We have lost mining business, and now its turn for tourism. The lack of policies have left the industry in pain,” said Domnick Pereira, a hotelier, who gave up his two guest houses at Calangute in North Goa and diversified into another business.
“If proper steps are not taken then it would be difficult for the industry to resurrect,” he said.
The beach shack owners, who are one of the prominent people to face brunt of tourism downfall, feel that several issues are prevailing which needs urgent attention.
Shack Owners’ Welfare Society President Cruz Cardoso said that the state government has failed to provide proper planning to the entire industry.
“There are many issued as far as Goa tourism is concerned. The government has to solve all the problems. The first and most important is about providing proper infrastructure to the tourists. There are no changing rooms, toilets on the beaches,” he said.
He said that the State government should finalise the tourism policy as soon as possible by taking stakeholders into confidence which would be the first step to control the downfall of the industry.
Goa has been receiving around 6 million tourists annually, while the number of visitors for this season would be available only after June, when the tourism season comes to an end.