Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai said that to improve its image on the tourism scene, the state would have to address garbage and sewerage issues as top priority. Stating that Goa has the potential to double its tourist inflow, he said that the state should try its best to attain a level of maintaining one of the cleanest beaches in the world. “This can get more tourists and fetch huge revenue to the state,” Sahai told a delegation of Goa chamber of commerce and industry (GCCI), headed by its president Manguirish Pai Raikar in Panaji on Saturday.
During the over one hourlong meeting, office bearers discussed several issues plaguing the tourism industry in the state with the minister. GCCI’s tourism committee chairman Ralph de Sousa made a presentation on the tourism scenario in Goa and sought the assistance of the minister in improving Goa’s infrastructure. Sanjay Kothari, additional secretary, Union ministry of tourism was also present.
Sahai said that both garbage treatment and the issue of lack of proper sewerage system needs to be addressed on a mission mode so that Goa can proudly claim that it has the cleanest beaches in the world, Raikar told STOI. He also said that the chief minister and GCCI can approach the planning commission for central assistance for sewerage infrastructure. Raikar suggested that this being the 50th year of Goa’s liberation, a special one-time grant may be specially considered for Goa.
The Union minister has also agreed to provide assistance for modernization of the Dabolim airport and improvement in the national highways with signage of international standard. De Sousa also raised the visa issue and sought the minister’s intervention to resolve it. The visa issue is affecting inflow of tourists into Goa, de Sousa told the minister. The minister felt that the state should conduct a highly professional campaign and its marketing should be of international standards to attract more foreign tourists. While addressing the issues raised by the chamber, Sahai assured the Union government’s fullest support to the state.