The proposed tourism master plan, presently under discussion, recommends strengthening of laws and regulations, gives guidelines for tourism projects, quality labelling and support schemes, all with an aim to expand the tourism market and make tourism products attractive to potential tourists, but industry stakeholders remain sceptical.
The big question they raise is whether Goa tourism will be able to meet targets given its hitherto slow progress in streamlining the tourism trade and coming down on illegalities. Also, as case in point, a year-and-a-half after the department deliberated over making amends to the Tourist Trade Act, the department has achieved no progress in the direction so far, stakeholders say.
An official, who did not want to be named, said, introducing labelling and bringing in fresh regulations will not take time. The important task remains implementation. “There is an inherent tendency to not act,” the officer said, and added that this reluctance stemmed from fear of interference. “If we are given a free hand, we can act against anybody,” said the official commenting on the state of affairs of the tourism department.
A tourism stakeholder pointed out that many people let their houses during season, but choose not to register with the tourism department though it is mandatory for every tourism trader to register with the department. Though the police department should be held accountable for choosing to look the other way in such cases, he maintained that by now the tourism department should have had a system in place to keep tabs on such persons.