MOST popular for its beaches, Goa is mulling policies to promote travel to hinterland destinations and and prevent overdevelopment on its shores.
The Department of Tourism and Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) will give the regions of Pernem, Satteri, Dharbandora, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona special promotion for their eco-tourism activities. Two agrotourism spots on government farms – one located at Codar in Ponda and another at Kalay in Sanguem – will also be developed.
“Our tourism masterplan intends to showcase the natural assets of Goa and develop initiatives in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner to highlight the state's rich culture, history and heritage besides our beaches,” said Laxmikant Yashwant Parsekar, chief minister of Goa.
In total US$41.6 million have been sanctioned by the state government this year to do this and 33 tourism infrastructure projects are in various stages of planning and implementation state-wide.
GTDC managing director, Nikhil Desai, said: “Next month we are floating a global tender for a area of 125,000m2 in Farmagudi, about 28km from Panji, for developing a state-of-the-art convention centre on PPP model by 2020.
“Meanwhile, 42 resorts are being developed in Selaulim in South Goa and we are also developing Mayem Lake in Bicholim. A theme park on the banks of Mayem Lake will be established to draw family travellers.”
Additionally, US$1.6 million will be spent on building an international convention centre at Panaji and the Global School of Tourism is also planned for capacity building and skills development.
“(Promoting) hinterland tourism is a very good initiative by the government. Although the beaches are still an important draw for tourists, we have to look at other options to give our clients a good experience,” remarked Gajanan Kerkar, CEO, Best Tourism Deals India.