Goa minister wants to throw out common Indian tourists

Panaji, Jan 5  Goa as a tourism destination should become so expensive that low-budget Indian tourists are discouraged from coming to the coastal state, a minister said on Friday.

Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai also said Goa should re-orient its tourism to attract high-end tourists and focus on quality tourism rather than a tourism apparatus which focuses merely on footfalls.

He was responding to a question on overcrowding and inflow of tourists on a shoe-string budget to the coastal state during the Christmas-New Year week.

"I (had) said Goa should become so expensive for the tourists that they should say 'I should not come to Goa. It is not worth going to Goa'. Which tourist -- Indian tourist," Sardesai said.

An opposition legislator in the last legislative assembly, Sardesai heads the regional Goa Forward party, which has three ministers in the 12-member Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar-led coalition government.

"It should also be a place which gives high-end facilities and gets high-end tourism, which benefits the sons of the soil," he said.

Goa annually attracts more than six million tourists every year, which is four times its resident population of 1.5 million. Half a million foreign tourists also visit the coastal state every year.

The tourism rush peaks during the festive year-end week, when a bulk of domestic tourists visit the state, often putting pressure on the already inadequate public infrastructure, which Sardesai said needed to be upped.

"Today we are competing with Kerala, we are competing with Sri Lanka and mostly with South East Asia. Now South East Asia has a lot more to offer. They have got 500 golf courses, we do not have a single golf course and we still say we don't want that," the minister said, adding that high-end tourism-oriented facilities need to be created.

"(Need for) re-orienting tourism to get high-end and see that people who come to Goa is not just about quantity, but quality," Sardesai said.



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