The recent exposure of corruption in the State Tourism Department has led to a domino effect, with more and more skeletons tumbling out of its closet. Now it’s the fully paid national foreign trips of Tourism Department officials that have caught the eye of the media.
The stakeholders of the tourism industry and People of Goa wonder despite Goa being a major tourist destination, why there is a fall in the number of tourists visiting the State. The answer probably lies in the fact that anyone in the Tourism Department can make it to tourism fairs worldwide, irrespective of their knowledge and experience in a similar field.
Anyone in the Tourism Department can make it to tourism fairs worldwide, irrespective of their knowledge and experience in a similar field.
Sources at OHeraldo stated that A Chief Engineer in GTDC project Cell, Pramod Badami, was sent to London for a five-day trip to promote tourism. Interestingly, he has incurred expenses amounting to Rs 2,41,040/- At the end of the day this money is spent from the hard-earned money of the taxpayers.
As per answers submitted in the Assembly, the Tourism Department has spent over a crore in traveling allowance for its officials out of the total Rs 1.79 cr by all departments.
Since 2017, Goa has been promoted as a Tourist destination by these contingents in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Milan, Chicago, Israel, Australia, Netherlands, Hungary, Russia, and other cities and countries.
Sources in the department have revealed that there are officers who travel in rotation to various fairs. “If it is Tourism Department officials for one tour, it would be from Goa Tourism Development Corporation for the next. This is how it goes and the official or staff is selected by the Director or MD, GTDC,” sources reveal.
Despite the expenditure, there seems to be no improvement in the number of tourist arrivals. Stakeholders in the Travel and Tourism Industry have claimed that tourist numbers to Goa had dropped considerably this season.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president Savio Messias has said that the dip was as much as 30 percent, adding that most hotels in the State were under-booked during the festive season when bookings are usually at its highest levels. The Tourism Department has claimed that it has not yet tabulated the tourist arrival figures for the year 2018.
TTAG has also demanded a white paper on foreign travels by the officials and the ministers. In the document submitted to Tourism Minister Manohar (Babu) Azgaonkar, TTAG has also demanded an audit of all foreign promotions by the Tourism Department.
Source: Herald Goa