26 Dec 2016  |   05:08am IST

What has Santa got for tourism in Goa next year?

Lyndon Alves

With rumors doing the rounds of the white bearded man, who this Christmas, came to our homes through our TV’s and took away most of our money, what’s the reality that Goa’s tourism industry can really look forward to? Especially with the new found slogan of making Goa the model state of the country.

What started with a bang of big hopes and announcements on ease of visas, higher tourist and charter arrivals with big statements from the people in power seeking personal repute and gratification, all slowly dwindling into unpleasant reality, both for the tourists and the tourism stake holders.

What’s even unfortunate, is knowing that the huge drawback from the demonetization, made no difference to those in power with the ability to ease the life of the citizens and to rescue their situation, rather the non synchrony of departments again led to a disaster with the age old problems of taxis & shack licensing surfacing, with no firm solution in site even till date!

Its unfortunate to realize that when a government can put what one sees as animpossibility for an occasion like BRICS, for the states guests, nothing of similar effort can be made for the tax paying citizenslivelihood, who eagerly wait the entire off season to earn their living in these six months when Goa has been blessed with the opportunity a few places in this country have been gifted with.

With the elections on the horizon, its obvious that little effort from the government will be dedicated to the problems of the state, rather all efforts will selfishly, go to the constituency and winning votes, more so with the presentcash shortage.Let’s hope that the election code does not become another disastrous dampener on the industry, there are already unpleasant rumors doing the rounds scarring away visitors!

Like everyone else, we need the new year to bring in hope, we need to see the reality of the states biggest income earner being given the status it deserves.For starters we need to take the stake holders into confidence. Appointing world renowned consultancy firms at humongous fees is of little value minus the participation of the tourism industry, who have seen little come out beyond the table, as there seems to be a lack sincerity and vision amongst those in the position to make the suggested changes.

The ongoing taxi problem sees no end in sight. We are unwilling to jointly collate for a solution that sees long term benefit to all. We remain the most expensive taxies in the country with the most dissatisfied drivers, an unreal irony.

The CRZ and the government departments instead of coming together on the same table, sends the stake holders from one table to the other, with no solution in site. The shack licenses are still not issued even when half the season is over! How does one manage overnight rule changes that adversely affect a business built by families over generations? In a knee jerk reaction, beach permissions are withdrawn without any justified explanation. Its not that everyone coming to a beach destination wants their event on the beach, but knowing that its not allowed is a dampener in itself and dissuades MICE & Wedding clients from looking at Goa as a possible event venue. In the last few days, at a leading five-star hotel down south, an entire beach setup (with all relevant permissions) was destroyed, with no action taken against the perpetrators till date.

The disorganized state of the airport, after all the criticism has become a New Normal, the way it goes in our state for everything from taxi problems to shacks to beach beds and multitudes of unscrupulous touts harassing tourists who want to just be, we have become a country where its only a matter of time before any new inconvenience becomes a “New Normal”. 

Lyndon Alves has been a operator in the hospitality industry in the state since the 90’s.   


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