Tourism Minister makes a gaffe; Govt announces Carnival programme in advance to lure tourists
PANJIM: Tourism Minister Manohar (Babu) Azgaonkar on Tuesday invited tourists to ‘eat, drink and make merry’ during the Carnival festival happening in March this year. His invitation comes close on the heels of Goa Governor Dr Mridula Sinha’s remark that such misconceptions regarding the State should be removed and her insistence that tourism in Goa be promoted in the right manner.
After chairing a meeting with government officials to finalise the Carnival dates, the minister conceded that tourism has seen an alarming drop in Goa and it needs a push considering that Goans are looking at the tourism industry for revenue generation after the closure of mining operations in the State.
“Due to some reasons tourism has dropped and by promoting Carnival, let us encourage more and more visitors to Goa. We need business and revenue, and as such, we need to focus on tourism. People are looking at tourism in view of the mining closure. Let people come and enjoy. Eat, drink and make merry,” he said.
The minister, however, reiterated the State will not tolerate tourists who do not respect Goan culture and Goenkarponn.
With an aim to increase visitors during the Carnival festival, the minister said it has been decided to release the dates well in advance. The float parade will commence from the State capital on March 2, followed by Margao on March 3, Vasco and Ponda on March 4 while the parade will shift to Mapusa, Morjim and Curchorem on March 5.
“We want to promote Carnival across the world and to increase arrivals into Goa. Our aim is to display Goa’s sankruti (culture) and Goenkarponn. During the festivity period, which will last for 3-4 days, let people eat, drink and make merry but by maintaining Goa’s culture,” he reiterated.
The government has decided to introduce a new concept of allowing stakeholders to participate in the float parade without any entry fee. The government is expected to spend around Rs 3 crore for the four-day festival. The minister also spoke of ensuring security of the tourists in the State.
Last week, at the launch of the Raj Bhavan Tour, Governor Sinha had advocated an urgent need to remove misconceptions and promote Goa’s in the right manner.
“I always say (to the people) that (you) don’t come to Goa thinking each day is ‘eat, drink and make merry’. It is not. Goa’s has so many bhajan mandalis and competitions held in this regard and women participating in it are dressed up in complete clothes and jewelries. I show these photographs in North India said say ‘these are Goan women.’ It is very important to promote this sanskruti (culture) and create awareness,” she had said.
Interestingly, the Tourism Minister was present when the Governor made the statement that that Goa will not tolerate nuisance-making tourists.