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Allocation for Goa to be spent on tourist infrastructure: Kamat
February 28, 2010

Allocation for Goa to be spent on tourist infrastructure: Kamat


28 February 2010

Michael Gonsalves, Pune:

The Rs 200 crore allocated for Goa in the union budget will be utilised to build tourist infrastructure and conserve its beauty to attract holiday makers, Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat has said.

He told Financial Chronicle in an interview: “This is for the first time in recent years the budget has allocated Rs 200 crore for tourism sector in Goa.”

The state had asked for a special package of Rs 1,400 crore for various projects for the golden jubilee year of Goa’s liberation from the Portuguese in 1961.

Goa, with its 108 km long coastline dotted with palm-fringed white sandy beaches, is one of the 10 most sought after holiday destinations for Christmas and New Year. He said the money meant for anti-erosion of beaches and providing green cover would give a big boost to Goa’s beach tourism—the state’s USP on the international sector. Kamat said this year the union government had also sanctioned Rs 47 crore to promote tourism.

The CM said the income tax relief to new hotels and rationalisation of customs duty on gaming software would also help tourism in the state. He said annually more than 25 lakh Indian and five lakh foreign tourists flocked Goa.

Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Cesar Menezes said the state had asked for more money since tourism was the major revenue earner for the people. “Some of the beaches are getting eroded and the money was needed to restore them,” he said.

Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president and chairman of D’Souza Group of hospitality industry Ralph D'Souza said the golden Coco beach had disappeared and Sinquerim and Anjuna beaches in the north were damaged substantially.

“Also, due to rise in sea level Uttorda and Palollem beaches in the south which attract a huge number of foreigners need to be protected from the tidal waves,” D’Souza said.

The beautiful beaches needed to be protected by building eco-friendly barriers so that the sand did not disappear, he said, adding the government had already taken measures to prevent sand and soil erosion.

The hospitality industry would also urge the government to spend the money on conserving the natural beauty of the hinterland, especially the rich biodiversity in Sattari, Sanghem and Canacona talukas bordering the Western Ghat in east Goa to create facilities for hinterland tourism.