Stakeholders pick holes in interim tourism master plan

Stakeholders raised several concerns varying from ground handling to hotels and accommodation, which they said if not addressed, can render the master plan ineffective.

Sunder G Advani, chairman & managing director, Advani Hotels & Resorts (India), said, “Most international airlines have a rule, wherein they don’t allow their crew to stay at longer than one hour distance from the airport, but the upcoming Mopa airport in North Goa is around two hours away from South Goa, where most luxury hotels are.”

Advani said, “Although Dabolim airport will remain operational, but all airlines will have to take a call whether to have ground handling staff at Dabolim airport or Mopa airport. If they choose Mopa airport, then they will be really away from South Goa.”

Several hoteliers said that Dabolim airport is located centrally in the state, which helps business establishments both in North and South Goa. But, the upcoming Mopa airport will be more favourably located for hotels in North Goa.

The interim master plan even mentions that the Mopa airport is expected to handle A380R aircraft. But, stakeholders said that most airports in India are not capable of handling aircraft of A380R’s size.

Advani further said, “The master plan has a provision for development of luxury accommodation in Salcete, which to my mind will happen in and around Colva. But, again, with the airport at Mopa, luxury tourists are going to find it very difficult to reach Colva.”

Hoteliers also said that the state government should only focus on luxury travellers as mass tourists don’t add anything to economy. A stakeholder said, “We don’t want mass tourists. They come to Goa, use our transport and electricity, but don’t spend money. We need tourists, who spend money.”

The interim tourism master plan envisages a growth of 4.3% to 8% under various scenarios in domestic tourist arrivals in Goa between 2019 and 2029, majority of which are expected to be mass segment travellers. It is these tourists, who stakeholders complain add no value to their business.

Few stakeholders complimented the interim plan as it envisages to create parking away from beaches and even proposes to have promenades on beaches, which in their views will decongest and beautify beach areas.

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