Stating that tourism in Goa has always grown when the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said that the state tourism policy will try to strike a balance between retaining the originality of Goa and carrying out the tourism-related development in the state.
“In 2000, when I was the Chief Minister, the number of tourists visiting Goa was only 13.86 lakh, and by the time my government was out (in 2005), the tourists had already doubled by crossing the 25-lakh mark,” the Chief Minister recalled, pointing out that during the last five years, this number has tripled.
“We have our share of contribution in this increase, but the main attraction for the tourists is Goa, and if Goa is going to be the main attraction then we need to retain the originality of the place, while ensuring that the related infrastructure is good,” he noted, mentioning that one of the aspects linked to the originality of Goa is the finest law and order situation in the state, which saw Goans rarely locking the front door of their houses during day time.
Addressing the gathering after inaugurating Le Méridien Goa, a five-star hotel of the Marriott Hotels, at Calangute, Parrikar said that hotels like Le Méridien give a boost to quality tourism in the state.
“We, on the government side can only promise you good law and order and good infrastructure including roads, which, of course, would need some time to be in place,” he maintained.
Speaking further, the Chief Minister admitted that over the years, the scenario as regards the flawless law and order in the state has changed, especially with the influx (of people to Goa), the increased number of railways regularly arriving in the state, and improved road connectivity. “All these things have resulted in the increased possibility of incidents of robberies,” he observed, quipping that Goans have since moved from using tumbler locks to 8-lever locks.
Parrikar also recalled that when the first International Film Festival of India was organised in Panaji, in the year 2004, which was an effort to make Goa known across the globe, there was not even a single case of pick pocketing, eve-teasing or molestation, during consecutive ten days of the festival, in spite of the fact that 70,000 to 80,000 people visited the city during the period. “That is what I call discipline, and law and order,” he said, adding that he intends to bring the particular scenario back to the state because such a situation is very important for good tourism.
Deputy Speaker, Micheal Lobo; Minister for Town and Country Planning, Vijai Sardesai, area vice-president (South Asia), Marriott International Inc, Neeraj Govil, and chairman of the Models Group of Companies, Peter Vaz were present on the occasion.