Goa needs Rs 6000 cr for tourism

| 25 June 2001 22:18 IST

The long-awaited Goa tourism master plan, approved by the state cabinet last week, envisages investment of nearly Rs 6000 crore in two coming decades, with a thrust on diversion from beach tourism and development of infrastructure.

The report, prepared by Delhi-based Consulting Engineering Services (India) Ltd, will be now tabled in the Assembly during monsoon session. After getting it approved from the House, the government would then prepare a final tourism policy.

The World Tourism Organisation estimates 1.6 billion international tourists in the world in 2020, compared to 0.57 billion in 1995. The South Asia however is expected to attract only 0.2 billion out of it, though it is five times more than 1995. India is expected to fuel 4.5 times growth out of it.

The tourist in Goa is however estimated at 27.09 lakh in 2021 - the growth by only 2.5 times - while it was 12.69 lakh in 2000. The foreign tourist growth is however estimated almost by four times, around 9.76 lakh in 2021. Around 17.33 lakh domestic tourists would then visit Goa.

Considering these factors, the master plan recommends to the state government to seek central grants of Rs 2233 crore, while contributing 657 crore from its own treasury and raising Rs 2834 crore through financial institutions. The private participation is valued at Rs 659 crore, including the international air port worth Rs 600 crore.

While the existing bed capacity for the tourists of all categories is 30,617 as per March 2001, the requirement in 2006 itself is estimated at 39,000, suggesting addition of 8383 beds. By 2021, states the report, the bed requirement would be 61,000 beds, suggesting addition of almost equal number of beds (30,383) from today.

This roughly includes 13,000 more beds in the star and 18,000 beds in the non-star categories. As per the figures of 31 March 2000, Goa has 61 star hotels having capacity of only 7372 beds. It means the plan suggests equal or more number of star resorts to come up while similar number of non-star hotels in the state.

Since the forecast should not have an adverse effect on tourism here with beaches getting over-congested, the plan suggests diversion of tourism activity to the western ghat region as well as midland region of the state. It is equally beautiful but not exposed to the tourist till date, except the temples and churches.

The new tourist products thus suggested are eco-tourism, cultural heritage tourism, adventure tourism, rural tourism, business tourism and educational tourism. The potential areas identified are adventurous water sports, trekking in forests, artisan-based villages, museums and galleries as well as luxury trains like Palace on Wheels.

In terms of infrastructure development, the master plan suggests improvement of road transport with a conceptual road network, utilising water transport, late-hour buses at 11 pm, round-the-clock service at Dabolim air port, improvement of water and power supply and better attention to solid waste management.

The plan also suggests to the government to support tourism by granting it a full-fledged industry status on the lines of export-oriented industry, control mechanism to check overcharging by hotels and tour operators and setting up of a high power tourism promotion commission.

The commission, to be headed by chief minister or tourism minister, should primarily monitor activities of forecasting, planning, development and marketing on the lines of California Tourism Development Commission, suggests the master plan.

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