The state government is trying to push through some projects, many of them dormant for years, to boost the growth of thetourism industry in the state, sources said. The government has plans to introduce hop-on-hop-off tourist buses on the northern coastal belt. Tourists can then avoid using local bus services. Using the hop-on-hop-off buses, they can visit one beach after another, which is currently not possible except by hiring bikes or taxis.
Speaking to SToI, tourism minister Dilip Parulekar said, “There are a lot of projects in mind. Whatever is feasible, we will be doing.”
Setting up basic infrastructure will be top priority for the new government. Work has already started on building changing rooms and toilets on all beaches in the state. Land is also being identified for parking lots on all beaches. It has also been decided to introduce a late night KTC bus service from Calangute to Panaji, a major need for budget tourists visiting the famed beach.
Apart from a viewing tower at Calangute, other big-ticket projects being planned are an oceanarium at Baga and a convention centre with a five-star hotel at Kesarval, Verna. Also on the anvil are open-air entertainment zones at Baga and Benaulim which will be used for large music concerts, events like the Sunburn festival and even shopping festivals. Two golf courses are also proposed, one in Tiracol and another in South Goa. Helicopter joyrides for tourists are also almost certain soon, under the aegis of the GTDC.
Tourists can enjoy the scenery from above with special heli-rides being planned in the lush mountains and valleys of the Western Ghat range in Goa’s hinterland.
Ten more jetties are also going to be built in the hinterland areas to encourage more cruise-boat tourism and visitors to interior Goa which abounds in natural beauty, thus promoting green tourism, according to sources in the tourism department. ”We have 3,500 types of flowering plants and out of 3,701 sq m area of Goa, 1,624 sq m is forest land,” an official said. Most of these projects and plans have been there on paper for years together, but were never implemented because of one reason or the other. Some of them may now see the light of day.