President of Centre for Responsible Tourism, Fr Maverick Fernandes, has said that the interim tourism master plan will annihilate people of Goa because the agency, which prepared it is not in touch with the realities of people at the grassroots.
On August 26, 2016, the department of tourism had uploaded the interim tourism master plan on its website and had asked stakeholders, people and NGOs to give feedback on the same.
Fr Maverick said that the interim tourism master plan is not in sync with what people of Goa want. He continued, “Proposals for certain kinds of tourism development projects such as high-end music venue paired with luxury lifestyle, water front promenades, seaplanes, gaming districts, mass events, casinos, golf courses, cruises, are extremely problematic and there are numerous studies that illustrate the ill-effects of this kind of tourism development.”
“Going through the interim plan, it seems that people of Goa have been side-lined, while projects have taken centre-stage. The department of tourism has made absolutely no effort to understand what kind of tourism is good for the children and youth of Goa.”
A press note from Centre for Responsible Tourism and Equations said, “The preparation of this document should have been a bottom up approach, where extensive interactions with people living in and around tourism destinations as well as the people who are part of the unorganised tourism sector (as that is where the largest number of employment is) should have taken place. The voices of these people are completely missing.”
Centre for Responsible Tourism and Equations are both extremely critical of how interim master plan aims to position Goa. The press note said, “There are many references in the master plan as to how Goa should be pitched as a tourism destination – place for a good time, beach party spot, susegad lifestyle. However, is this the way the local communities see and would want to describe the Goan culture? These are the images that the local communities have been fighting against for a long time – to move away more the sun, sand, sex image that Goa has become famous for.”