14 May 2022  |   05:53am IST

Going legal is a good feeling

The State government has decided to give the large grey component of the tourism industry an opportunity to register and avoid a stiff fine. Members of the industry voiced their opinion

T

he State tourism ministry is making a serious attempt to bring in the large grey component of the hospitality and tourism industry into the fold. The authorities have requested parties in industries as diverse as hotels and keepers of other accommodation, tour operator, motor boat, water sports operators, tourist guides, government and private shack chamber, deck beds and beds and beach umbrella and other service providers. If it was not done, the authorities would fine the guilty party Rs one lakh. Members of the industry welcomed the move.

Serafin Cotta, Head of medium and small hotels said it was a strong move by the authorities and it would help bring some efficiency to the industry. He said “We appreciate the attempt to create a level playing field for the industry. They have also given everyone an opportunity to register and given them adequate time to do what is needed. The problem I foresee however is that the authorities will accept anyone in any category even if they are not qualified for that industry. I can say this; we hotels in the north are willing to help the government by showing them where the illegal accommodations are present”.

An operator in the water sports industry, Pele said it was a good move and it was important for Goans to benefit from the tourism industry. He however bemoaned the fact that all water sports activities were now stopped due to the rough seas and the cyclone and the government was not providing any relief. He said the industry had suffered a similar fate last year due to the virus and no help was forthcoming from the government. He also hoped all the licenses needed for the season were given by September instead of October which then delayed everything.

Padma Nair who runs a small hotel on the coast said it was a very good move because the government he said was losing a large sum by way of taxes. He said “I could say it is perhaps well over sixty percent when you think of the unregistered services that operate and provide services to tourists. So many of them are even in gated communities and are given out on a monthly or yearly lease to the big aggregators. Everyone makes a lot of money and the State government loses money. I am hoping for the best.”

Nilesh Shah, President of TTAG said they had requested the government to bring all the illegal services into the net. He said “Those providing all the services legally cannot compete. The idea should be to make the rules so simple that after registration they will benefit because their services will be marketed on the government website. The process earlier was cumbersome but now the government is talking about the ease of doing business. This will then encourage more people to register. Look at the guides, many of them are not registered. If they do, there will be certain protocols which will in fact make them ambassadors for Goa. Let us all hope for the best.”

For an industry which earns so much and generates employment for tens of thousands to have a large percentage of the industry unregistered is an appalling state of affairs. One can only hope this move helps push everyone in the right direction.

IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar