PANJIM: The much-delayed Goa Tourism Policy 2020, with an important provision for the constitution of a Tourism Board and the Tourism Master Plan – a 25-year vision document – was approved by the State Cabinet on Wednesday.
The work on the policy and master plan started in 2014 through a consortium of KPMG Advisory Services Pvt Ltd and Leisure Advisory Services. It took over three years for the master plan to be prepared. It was in December 2019, that both documents were sent for government approval.
Addressing media persons after the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant said that the State Tourism Policy 2020 and the Master Plan, were pending approval for long. “The cabinet has granted its nod to both,” he said.
Sawant also said that the Cabinet has accorded approval for 50 per cent waiver in licensing fees for beach shacks for the current tourism season. The last day for paying the fees is December 31.
The tourism policy broadly covers various aspects, like coastal, educational, cultural and nature-based tourism, leisure, entertainment, and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition (MICE). However, the provision for constituting the Goa Tourism Board, which will chalk out strategies for promoting and marketing Goa at the international platform, is the most important aspect of the policy.
Speaking in detail about the policy and master plan, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said that henceforth tourism activities and related infrastructure would be planned and implemented according to the policy and master plan.
“It is very important that we promote Goa beyond beaches, churches, temples and heritage. The document speaks about introducing eco-tourism, hinterland-tourism, adventure and sports tourism, educational and cultural tourism along with entertainment,” Ajgaonkar said, adding that the required infrastructure would be created with funding from the State as well as Center.
The Minister said that formation of a Goa Tourism Board is one of the key features of the policy. “The Board will consist of expert members from various fields, including environmentalists,” he said.
The Board will finalise the kind of tourism projects, activities, infrastructure that need to be created along with promoting and marketing Goa as a brand on the international platform, Ajgaonkar said.
“Projects on public private partnership (PPP) would be encourage,” he said,adding, “It is time to rebuild the tourism sector, which is hit hard due to the current pandemic.”