Concerned over quality of tourists coming into the state in recent years, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Wednesday said tourism stakeholders need to hold a ‘chintan baithak’ before it is too late.
The year-end saw a lot of tourists, mostly low budget, coming into the state and flocking to the beaches and creating nuisance of garbage and beer bottles.
The local businesses including small-time hotels, shacks, restaurants had hardly any business from such tourists, as these tourists ushered in the New Year by holding celebrations in the open especially on the beaches. They cooked their own meals, had drinks and left behind a trail of waste of beer bottles, paper plates and plastic waste. The Calangute beach was the most affected. Parking areas had also become an eyesore due to litter strewn all over. Tourists were seen in Calangute drinking beer openly.
Lobo said that more than 2000 beer bottles were found thrown on the beaches at Baga and Calangute.
Addressing a press conference, he said that “all tourism stakeholders need to hold a chintan baithak to chalk out strategy to attract quality tourists into Goa. Minister for tourism, GTDC, concerned MLAs, panchayats and other tourism stakeholders need to hold a meeting on the tourism situation.”
He further said that strict measures are needed to curb drinking menace in public places and also nuisance of male tourists walking semi-clad on the beaches.
He said looking at the situation, there was a question mark as to what type of tourists the Goa government was trying to attract. “Are we promoting Goa as alcohol destination where one can drink on the road and break bottles anywhere,” he asked. He said that due to such things, quality tourists were staying away from Goa.
“It has been three years that I have been raising this issue. But, with no changes, quality tourists who used to come to Goa during the Christmas days are now going to other destinations. If appropriate measures are not adopted, Goa’s tourism will die a slow death or Goa will be tagged as a cheap holiday destination in the world,” he said.
He said GST needs to be reduced from 28 per cent by the central government, further maintaining that there was a drop of 50 per cent in tourist footfalls around the Christmas season.
When asked about overcharging by hotels, Lobo said that star hotels had to slash their tariffs during the Christmas season as they were running empty.
Candolim sarpanch Blaize Fernandes said that there was a need to stop a travel agency as it was promoting cheap tourism and attracting low-spending tourists.