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Amphibian Bus Service – The Ambitious Project of Goa Tourism Development Corporation that Never Took Off

GTDC, also known as Goa Tourism Development Corporation, the autonomous body of the Department of Tourism to handle Marketing and promotion of tourism-related activities
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GTDC, also known as Goa Tourism Development Corporation, the autonomous body of the Department of Tourism to handle Marketing and promotion of tourism-related activities in Goa came up with many ambitious projects but, most of them either did not take off or remained dormant due to the lack of foresight and planning. Amphibian Bus Service or Duck Boat project that was launched by the GTDC in the year 2016, unfortunately, is one of them and the bus is standing under the GTDC office at Patto.

Goa is also known as the “Rome of East” and “Tourist Paradise”. Known for its alluring beauty and scenic attractions, Goa is one of the major tourist destinations in the world. It is the perfect blend of the eastern and western culture. Although being the smallest state in the country, Goa breathes a life of its own. The mesmerizing sunsets adorned with exquisite greenery, Goa has something to offer everyone.

Goa is home to marvellous architectural buildings that speak of the Portuguese influence and history of the State. This amalgamation of the eastern and Western culture brings out a flavour that no other state offers.

Realising the potential of Goa in the tourism market, the GTDC had taken several initiatives to improve Tourism in Goa. There have been numerous advents and initiative taken up by the department to accelerate the tourism growth. The perfect coastal climate, the cultural mix and priceless attractions have been boon for this industry to flourish well. Thus, the Tourism Industry has come a long way in the path of progress and is committed to providing quality and safe tourism for its customers.

The GTDC was established in on 30th March 1982 to look after the commercial activities of the Government in the service industry of tourism in the state.  GTDC has launched several adventurous activities like Hop-on, hop-off bus services in the north and hot air ballooning services in the south which ran for some time with lots of hiccups. 

This appears to be the first and last trip of the Amphibian Vehicle that was made for the media promotion

In 2016, the GTDC introduced amphibious vehicle, popularly known as Duck Boat, which allowed tourists to experience Goa’s rich hinterland. These are the amphibian vehicles that are viable on land as well as on water. The first of its kind, the main reason for the launch of the service was to boost tourism in the state and especially, to attract high-end tourists.

As interesting as the name suggests, Duck tours was supposed to be launched by the end of 2016. Three indigenously built 33-seater vehicles, which can operate on both, road and water was showcased and trial runs were undertaken.

According to sources, the full-fledged operations of the Goa Duck Tours were to begin in November 2016, and online bookings were to be made through the Goa tourism website.

There was a lot of hype and excitement regarding this initiative. The Locals, as well as the Government officials, felt that this would boost tourism, help economy, as well as provide job opportunities to the Goans. But it is quite surprising to see no news of this amphibian vehicle being operated in Goa.

According to Times of India, the vessels could not have been commissioned as GTDC failed to obtain the necessary statutory permissions and thus has been stalled. Amphibious Tours Private Ltd, the agency which was selected to operate the service and was to operate the service had opted out of the project.

According to NDTV, Mr Ajgaonkar said in a written reply, “As the process of obtaining the permissions took a considerable amount of time, the selected bidder lost the confidence in the project and backed out from the said project.” However, the tourism body kept open the option of re-tendering the project to select a new bidder.

According to Times of India, GTDC chairman Nilesh Cabral told that they will initiate talks with one of the partners of the agency to explore their willingness to re-start the project at the earliest. The GTDC has been trying to revive its ambitious amphibious bus service project. For this, it intends to rope in one of the partners of M/s Amphibious Tours Private Limited, the agency that had been selected to operate the service in 2015.

There have been a lot of investments and expenses that has gone into this initiative. It is unfortunate that this endeavour has not seen success due to delays and improper planning. It is of no doubt that Goa is the most preferred tourist spot for the country but in recent years, the tourist footfalls have been dropping at a considerable rate. The over-priced hotel, transportation and services are the main reason behind it. Goa is also taking a hit on its reputation as a safe destination.

The many initiatives taken up by the GTDC has not seen much of an impact on the tourism popularity of Goa. The initiatives although are taken up, but is not executed till the end. There should be proper planning and foresight of ideas that should be taken to prevent such happenings in the industry. Along with this, the monitoring of services and facilities must also be taken to prevent damage to the tourist reputation of the state.

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