After 'innovation' award, 'home-award' for Parulekar in Tourism...

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 12 August 2015 22:06 IST

Yesterday, they congratulated tourism minister for being ‘innovative’ in promoting tourism in Goa. And today they grilled him for not doing enough to attract tourists. Who? Well, the ruling BJP MLAs!

Tourism minister Dilip Parulekar’s Calangute neighbour Michael Lobo had all the praises yesterday when he congratulated him for bagging an award of ‘Kalpak’ (innovative) tourism minister of India.

Today, Lobo was on the forefront, grilling him over doing hardly anything to attract foreign tourists from UK and Russia – the backbone of foreign tourists.

Joined him were Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo and St Andre MLA Vishnu Wagh, who had also congratulated Parulekar yesterday for his ‘innovations’.

The opposition legislators, rather than joining hands with them, preferred to watch the ‘home-award’ to Parulekar from his party colleagues.

Lobo, a hotelier himself, in fact said the government is doing nothing to control incidents of bag snatching, garbage menace and assaults on women tourists (he quoted Scarlett murder case), due to which UK tourists are shying away from Goa.

“Compared to more than 20,000 tourists increasing every year, UK tourists are on a decline since 2012”, said Lobo, holding the Parulekar regime responsible for the state of affairs.

Parulekar denied the charge of tourist decline and said: “With all possible strength, we will get more UK tourists this year.”

The figures he provided however spoke contrary. Compared to 1.20 lakh UK tourists in 2012, the increase next year was almost 25,000. But the increase in 2014 was hardly 949….

And then Ticlo bounced upon him: “How do you expect UK tourists to come with exorbitant fees being charged to them?”

“The central government has assured us to reduce it from Pounds 105 to Pounds 30 per person”, Parulekar told the House. But he didn’t seem very confident.

 “What are you doing to get Russian tourists?  The Rouble has reached 62 to 65. There was little occupancy of Russians last year. No Russians have booked this year”, Lobo shouted.

 

Parulekar once again disagreed, claiming that the first Russian charter is arriving on 5th September.

And roared Vishnu Wagh: “Foreigners come to India not for beaches but to enjoy our heritage in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and even in Jammu and Kashmir. What heritage is Goa offering to them?”

“Reis Magos Fort”, said Parulekar and went on complaining how the central government is creating problems in granting heritage status to heritage sites.

He agreed that foreigners also come for adventure and hinterland tourism and this is the list the ‘Kalpak Mantri’ provided to promote it:

Ropeway, adventure sports, Horse trails of nature sightseeing, hovercraft and motorized paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, yoga tours, amphibious vehicles and bicycle tours.

Parulekar claimed Goa is already providing hot Air balloons in the hinterland, white water rafting in Mhadei river only in Monsoons, bungee jumping and  giant swing.

The only party legislator came for his rescue was Panaji’s Siddharth Kuncalienker.

Replying to his question, Parulekar said FAM trips are being organised for the foreign media to promote Goa’s tourism.

But his own party colleagues exposed the reality Goa will face when the season begins next month…

 

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