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Tourism Minister Adamant on Appointing the Government Representative on Goa Tourism Board

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Already sinking tourism industry in Goa faces another roadblock as the Tourism Minister remains adamant over appointing of the Government representatives on the Tourism Board. According to him, the power shall remain with the Government. The composition of the proposed Goa Tourism Board (GTB) which was formed under the Draft Tourism Policy remains in abeyance due to the objection raised by Tourism Minister over allowing the tourism trade body the freedom to appoint its representatives on the board.

According to the reports, Tourism Minister Babu Azgaonkar wants to retain the power of appointing the representatives of Tourism Industry. It may be recalled that soon after coming to the power Azgaonkar had removed the GTDC from taking the decisions in regards to the marketing and promotions and handed it over to the Department which comes directly under his power.

The tourism master plan which is lying undecided since 2014 may not see the light of completion under the new agenda of the minister. The meeting regarding the finalising of the draft culminated into a heated discussion and ultimately nothing productive happened.

“The tourism minister is not in favour of the trade body choosing its representatives to be nominated to the board. He wants the power to appoint industry members,” said an official who present at the meeting.   

Tourism is diminishing day by day due to No Tourism Policy

A consensus on the composition of the board, he said, was reached a year ago. It was decided that the board will comprise members of the trade as well as government officials, with the tourism minister as chairman. It was agreed that five representatives of the tourism industry bodies would also be part of the 15 member-GTB.

The sources also revealed that the official meeting concluded in half due to the adamant stand of Azgaonkar. Ajgaonkar, however, said he was not opposed to having trade members on the board, provided the government appoints them.

Let the president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) be a board member, but the other industry representatives should as per the government’s choice, the minister said. “If they are allowed to nominate representatives, they (trade) will dictate terms to us,” he said.

It was proposed that members other than those from TTAG and Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), shall hold a position for two years, on rotation-basis. The TTAG is hoping that better sense will prevail, and their efforts of the last two years would not go to waste in finalising the finer points of the policy.        

“It has taken more than three years for the tourism master plan to be drawn up, and the tourism policy drafted. We do not want any further delay,” a TTAG member said adding hat they are reluctant to get the choice of Minister on the board cause as per the ground reality ministers ensure that persons of their choice sit on the high positions. “It could be a relative or a loyalist, just like appointed at the major corporations which are governed by them.         

“In the last two years, the GTDC board was changed thrice to accommodate such members. We do not want any non-professional, or a person having no sound knowledge of the tourism sector to be part of the GTB. That’s why it was suggested to appoint representatives of various bodies of the tourism sector,” he said.    

There is also a huge decline in Foreigners

Besides the trade representatives, key officials of the tourism ministry – the tourism secretary, tourism director and managing director of the Goa State Tourism Corporation (GTDC) – were also to be appointed on the board. It was also decided that an environment expert will be included in the tourism board, and there is also a provision to appoint a qualified professional as its chief executive officer, said the report.

Source: TOI

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