Panaji: The participation of Goa in the forthcoming India International Travel Mart (IITM) to be held at Bengaluru from August 2 to August 4 and other similar events is uncertain due to the irresponsibility on the part of the department of tourism towards issuance of work orders to the selected event management agencies. These agencies coordinate and manage such events including setting up of pavilion stall, printing of publicity material and manufacturing of merchandise.
The department had recently been guilty of not opening on time a similar tender and issuing related work order to the event management agency, as linked to the 3-day Travel and Tourism Fair (TTF), which was held at Kolkata from July 12 to 14. This had eventually resulted in Goa forced to opt out of participation at the particular event.
Incidentally, the tender document for selecting the event management agencies from the empanelled list of the department, for participation in such travel and tourism fairs, demands provision of three options for the artwork as related to stall designs, from the selected agencies.
Questions are also being raised about the State Level Marketing and Promotional Committee of the department, which has hoteliers as most of its members, without any technical expertise or background as regards creative aspects, architectural designing, engineering, etc, and art as a whole, which forms the core component while selecting the event management agencies.
It has also been exposed that the department of tourism has no public relations agency on its board since past ten months. A PR agency is very important for the department since Goa is heavily banking on tourism for revenue.
A number of travel and tourism events are scheduled to be held in various domestic circuits like Chennai (August 6 to August 11), Indore (August 16 to August 18), Ahmedabad (August 30 to September 1), Surat (September 6 to September 8), Amritsar (September 13 to September 15), Mumbai (September 27 to September 29), Jammu (November 15 to November 17) and so on.
Meanwhile, stating that the department of tourism vis-à-vis travel and tourism events across the state seems to be moving without any direction, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) Savio Messias said that his association had advised the department not to participate in each and every such event taking place in the country.
“The TTAG had advised the tourism department as to in which of the domestic travel marts it should participate this season,” Messias informed this daily, adding that it is not necessary for the department to participate in all such events, as that would not be fruitful.
“The department should ignore such marts and fairs held in smaller places, which are of course unproductive,” he noted, pointing out that the state needs to tap the potential of the popular travel marts, which are held in big cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Hyderabad, and organised by reputed names in travel and tourism industry.
It may be recalled that this daily had exposed that the department of tourism has been participating in travel marts organised also by one of its empanelled agencies.
“We from our side have advised the department of tourism about this aspect, and now if the department is not following our recommendation then it is very sad and unfortunate,” he observed, while indicating that the participating process of the department, in such events needs to be streamlined and accountable.
The TTAG had written a letter to the Chief Minister’s Office alleging irregularities and corruption. So far no response has been received to this communication.