KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
Goa Tourism is in the process of formulating a tourism master plan. The state tourism ministry has already floated tenders and will appoint a consultancy agency after the election process by end of February 2013. Talking exclusively to Express TravelWorld about the tourism development plans in the state, Nikhil Desai, MD, GTDC, and director of tourism, Government of Goa said, “In order to develop tourism offerings of the state in a more effective manner, construction of infrastructure has already commenced. The state has received `two crore as investment for the infrastructure projects. We are building a big jetty in Panjim from where boat cruises take place regularly, a new tourism bhavan and amphitheatre complex. There are also new projects coming up in Baga.” The ministry is also building a hotel management institute which will help in creating additional manpower for the industry. On the anvil is the convention centre, theme park, family entertainment parks, expo centres, construction of golf courses through private initiative.
Desai also informed that the state has started single window clearance system for all mega projects in the state where permissions are accorded rapidly. “With the tourism master plan which should be completed by end of this year, many reputed hotel brands have shown interest in building properties in the state. Hence the master plan will enable them to get faster clearances for their projects. Currently our total room inventory is 50,000 along with the non registered guestrooms, bed and breakfast accommodations, beach huts and heritage homes, etc. As Goa’s average occupancy rate rarely goes beyond 70 per cent, there is still a gap of 30-35 per cent which translates into huge volumes. Hence the tourism master plan will drive the growth for the industry, but we want to do it in a planned manner.”
In an effort to create a buzz about the destination Dilip Parulekar, minister for tourism, Government of Goa recently launched the dates for this year’s Goa Carnaval. The local event which has gained popularity will kick-start on February 8 and conclude on February 12, 2013. The other highlights of the event include a vintage car rally, Serenade parade, Harley Davidson Bike rally and King Momo’s lead float.