Reinvention of Goan Tourism Vital For It's Survival

:Rina Ray

9 July 2011

PANAJI: The government should aspire to bring in tourists who bring value addition to the state saying Goa needed to reinvent itself, Secretary, Art and Culture, Tourism and Education Delhi government Rina Ray said on Friday.
Speaking at the state consultation on the Goa Children's Act, 2003, Ray, recommended stopping of cheap charter flights from UK, Russia and Israel. "Goa needs to reinvent itself to save its tourism industry," warned Ray.
"The number of tourists visiting Goa reached a peak in the year the first edition of Iffi was held in Goa and have been on a steady decline ever since," she added. "Stop catering to the single male tourists, and focus on family tourism," Ray asserted, saying "families bring in much more money than single tourists".
A former women and child welfare secretary in Goa, Ray who was instrumental in formulating the GCA, 2003, called the GCA a unique act, as it was prepared with active participation of civil society and NGOs.
Speaking on the act, she said, "GCA, 2003 was the first such comprehensive children's act in the country. It not only deals with child sexual abuse, but also child labour, education and other aspects."
Ray mentioned that even the Delhi high court had termed it a model act. "When we introduced the children's court, people questioned the wisdom behind the decision. Now almost every district has a children's court," she said. Bemoaning the lack of will on the part of the government in tackling sex tourism, Ray said, "Goa is one of the most beautiful states in the country and should not be raped before it decides to wake up and do something."
Ray also acknowledged the central government's denial of the prevalence of sex tourism. "The fear of affecting the tourism industry and in turn the economy in tourism dependent states was one reason for the same," she remarked.