Master plan to tap coast, land sans people faulty: CRT

A more democratic process, with the voices of people affected by tourism, and a study of carrying capacities and tourism impact assessments is needed to drawing up the master plan and tourism policy, Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT) and Equations said on Wednesday.

CRT, a church-affiliated body and equations, while reacting to tourism department’s request to various stakeholders to offer suggestions on its proposed 3-module tourism master plan and policy through public consultations on September 15 and 16, 2016, rejected both and demanded a fresh start to the process.

“The voices of these people who live in and around tourism destinations as well as those who are part of the unorganized tourism sector with the largest number of employment are completely missing,” CRT and Equations said in a statement.

Terming the department’s plan and policy as “annihilation of people and sale of a state, the two bodies stated that different tourism products need to be planned carefully after assessing their impacts.

Many studies have laid bare the ill-effects and problems of certain types of tourism development, such as high-end music venue paired with luxury lifestyle, water front promenades, seaplanes, gaming districts, mass events, casinos, golf courses and cruises.

Though the strategy of the flagship programme and quick wins might be a good marketing gimmick, the haste to achieve quick results may cause irreversible damage, they pointed out.

 Reacting to Module 1 that refers to green norms, sustainable and responsible tourism, CRT-Equations said that it refers to assessment of tourism’s socio-economic and environment impact. But cause and effect of these impacts, many of which can be directly attributed to tourism are not examined deeply.
Further, the master planners KPMG and T& L have expertise in assessing and planning for the tourism’s business side, but do not have the perspective to carry out such an exercise, they pointed out.
Goa is proposed to be projected as a tourism destination for a good time, beach party spot and ‘soscegado’ lifestyle, but these are the images local communities have been opposing for many years.
The tourism planners appear to be interested in exploiting the coast and the land, but this will only raise the pitch of protests from locals, CRT-Equations cautioned.