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We Want Tourism Board On The Lines of Singapore – TTAG

Tourism in Goa
Tourism in Goa (Representational Image)
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The 25-year tourism master plan and tourism policy have finally been approved at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting after five years of deliberation. But the tourism industry stakeholders are highly disappointed due to the lack of appropriate representation on the board of this plan.

The TTAG president Nilesh Shah is of the opinion that without the representation of actual stakeholders on the board, the purpose of this plan may be defeated. The most crucial aspect of this plan was to include stakeholders more. The board created, as is, has more Government officials than actual stakeholders.

“We wanted a tourism board on the lines of Singapore or any other foreign destination that is industry-driven. We hope the government will make some amends to accommodate our concerns,” Shah said. 

The TTAG has been working very hard for the past five years to give more representation to stakeholders on the Board of this plan, to make it more favorable and focused on the needs of the industry.

The policy put forth by former CM Manohar Parrikar had a different image in mind while coming up with this policy. It was to give the tourism industry the reign to make their own decisions. It was originally decided to have five members each of the stakeholders and government officials. 

The cause for concern in this case for the industry is that the marketing strategies and promotions will now be in the hands of the tourism board rather than the government. The TTAG has always been critical of the government spendings on promotions, especially those in the foreign destinations which were considered wasteful.

Shah believes that the creation of this new board can be the opening of new opportunities for tourism in the state, which is now going through its worst phase due to the pandemic. But for this to be effective, the stakeholders will need to have more say in the decision-making process. 

Typically, the funds allocated for tourism go towards renovation and upkeep of temples and churches, and for developmental projects too. Those in control like the MLAs or even the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) have let this spending go unobstructed.

Former TTAG President Savio Messias is of the opinion, however, that this tourism board and the policy will be a trainwreck and just another layer of bureaucratic hoop that the stakeholders will have to jump over unless we take examples from a similar board in Kerala which is more industry oriented.

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