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Experts Focus On Role Of PPP In Tourism
October 24, 2011
Experts Focus On Role Of PPP In Tourism


24 October 2011

The public private partnership (PPP) model could be very good for tourism development, if only the government could ensure speedy and single-window clearances.

That in a nutshell was the consensus of experts speaking on the role of public private partnership in tourism on the 3rd and final day of the 2nd Goa International Travel Mart at Bambolim on Sunday.

The speakers were also unanimous in defining the roles; the government must be facilitator, policy maker and supervisor; the private partners must bring in the finance and the expertise.

The discussion had bureaucrats from three states on India's western coast - hosts Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat - on one side - and representatives of travel-and-tourism associations from India, on the other side.

The PPP model for tourism development got great reviews from all, especially from Vipul Mitra, principal secretary tourism, Gujarat. He related how the government created a vehicle called Gujarat Tourism Opportunity Limited (GUJTOP) that is successfully driving tourism in the state.

But the experience of Maharashtra has not been so good. Avinash Dhakne, joint managing director of the Maharashtra tourism development corporation (MTDC), related how the Maharashtra government acquired and allotted large tracts of land in Sindhudurg district to three major hoteliers of India around 1994. He lamented that till date nothing has happened on that land.

When questioned later, Dhakne however said that delays in obtaining government clearances might have caused the delay.

Goa tourism director Swapnil Naik spoke on the tourism department's proposals before the Goa PPP cell. But his talk was full of the difficulties that PPP projects entail; scarcity of land due to large ownership by private owners and comunidade, trenchant public opposition to PPP projects, rules of the CRZ and other rules that prevent parks and sanctuaries from being developed.

But the speakers were also full of hope. Naik spoke of how Goa's regional plan 2021 has earmarked eco-tourism zones in various places and reeled off the number of "expressions of interest" his department has initiated for projects like helipad tourism, luxury cruise liners, rope walkway, etc. all under the PPP model.