With a vision to make the state the “most preferred destination around the year for high-spending tourists” in 2024, the Goa government, on Wednesday approved the long-awaited Goa Tourism Policy 2020. The document anticipates 25 years of tourism, with a new Tourism Board to be the backbone for all decisions towards planning, development, and marketing of Goa tourism; with a broad purpose to strengthen tourism assets, extend employment opportunities, and tourism infrastructure from the footfall heavy beach belts to eco-tourism initiatives in the hinterland.
According to the plan, 89% of total tourist arrivals — the bulk of whom are domestic tourists — are spread between October and December, “putting immense stress on Goa’s ecology, infrastructure, and tourism assets”. The policy comes at a time when there is uncertainty over the mining industry seeing a long-term revival.
The larger plan is to ensure a single autonomous body with participation from industry stakeholders, unlike earlier models where several government bodies took independent decisions “without any holistic, long term vision”. Industry stakeholders say this will mean that “several misuse of tourism budgets towards beautifying constituencies will see allocation in a planned manner with tourism revenue benefits”.
With the cabinet’s approval, the next step is to have legislation that will see the board headed by the tourism minister taking over. This means that several tourism committees will be dissolved.
“Now we can say we have a vision for tourism. Short term and medium targets have been defined, which allows for creation of infrastructure within proper timelines. Tourism contribution to GDP is 40 per cent and we want to ensure the employment opportunities are not limited to coastal belts,” said Menino D’Souza, Tourism Director.
“The other important aspect is allowing private participation as a model. We have used success models from other states and also global cities.”
“We are happy it’s been passed. Though we believe they have diluted our majority in the board,” said Nilesh Shah, president of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa.