Says it is part of the State’s tourism and that the government ‘cannot close anything overnight’
PANJIM: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant defended the promotional video of Goa Tourism that features casinos claiming that it is part of the State’s tourism.
The chief minister was replying to a media question about how the government would justify its claim of promoting cultural tourism given that the promotional video prominently features casinos besides other tourism attractions of Goa. “Out of the total number of tourists visiting Goa, some tourists come here for casinos,” he reiterated adding, “Government is a continuous process and we can’t close anything overnight.”
“In the present circumstance, tourists are coming to visit casinos as well. Keeping in mind that Goa is a tourist place and with regards to the tourism sector, we need to promote every activity, which brings interest to tourists and also helps the development of the State,” he said.
The CM also spoke about government’s plan to aggressively promote the hinterland, cultural, religious and medical tourism, citing the need for quality tourists to Goa.
“I was just discussing with the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) Chairman Dayanand Sopte about how to boost tourism. Goa is not just a place of sun, sand and beaches but also about hinterland, cultural and medical tourism. All this needs to be promoted. If we need quality tourists, all the infrastructures need to be in place,” he said, while conceding that Goa has not yet achieved its 100 per cent target on upgrading its infrastructure.
The government is also contemplating to promote the popular Bondla Zoo. He acknowledged that promotion of this wildlife sanctuary was not satisfactory. “It should be a joint venture of various departments like Forest, Water Resource among others,” he added.
Replying to another query about the withheld projects such as seaplanes and amphibian vehicles, CM hinted that opposition from the people led to the stalling of such projects.
“A lot of objections were raised. If the opposition to projects in the name of environment reduces, such projects will create employment besides giving the State good tourism related opportunities. Government is also responsible towards protecting the environment. I urge people to cooperate with the government. It is also the responsibility of the Goans to encourage quality tourists,” he said quickly adding that the past projects were caught in certain shortcomings.
On being re-appointed as the GTDC Chairman in the presence of CM, Sopte on Tuesday said he is contented with getting the Corporation again.