Thursday 03 December 2020

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Economy | Finance

Financial boost to tourism

 

Tourism in Goa is expected to receive a boost with its budgetary allocation being increased multifold while the state also plans to accord industry status to all the tourism-related ancillary and support services.

In Goa, tourism has already been accorded status of industry last year, making the prime sector of the state more self-sustainable due to various incentives being provided.

While presenting the annual budget, chief minister Manohar Parrikar has given special emphasis on tourism, increasing the outlay to Rs 21.92 crore, which is almost five times the outlay at the end of the millennium.

Though post-11 September scenario affected the tourism sector in the state by reducing the foreign tourist inflow by 11 per cent, the tiny state still showed increase of 15 per cent rise in domestic tourist inflow last year. The overall increase was thus 8.8 per cent.

The western coastal state was actually hit badly in terms of charter arrivals (35 per cent less), compared to FIT foreign tourist arrivals. Against 419 charter flights with 1.17 lakh tourists the previous year, 279 charter flights landed here till April this year with only 76,000 foreigners.

"We are thus planning to promote Goa as an ideal and safe tourist destination, through aggressive marketing and promotion", states N Suryanarayan, the state tourism director.

Parrikar in his budget has now proposed to co-opt the private sector as associates in infrastructure development and marketing campaigns. Proposing a corpus fund for marketing, the government would contribute double the amount of contribution received from the private sector, subject to a ceiling of Rs five crore.

Besides developing a proper website with all the updates required to provide all kind of information for a domestic and foreign tourist, the government is also getting prepared with virtual walkthrough CD Roms, touchscreen information kiosks and organising domestic and international roadshows.

Besides beach tourism, the state appears to have been actually making efforts to develop eco-tourism by making special budgetary provision and developing interior green spots like waterfalls, sanctuaries and lakes. It also includes infrastructural development for adventure tourism along the coast as well as equally magnificent interior hilly areas.

In addition, Parrikar's budget has also made special provision of Rs 50 crore for infrastructure like roads and other related developmental works, keeping requirements of tourism industry in mind. This could thus really do away with several irritants of tourists like transport, water shortage or power shutdowns.

Parrikar's budget also makes tourists' stay and food much cheaper than earlier, rather than increasing taxation to generate revenue for the tourism sector. The luxury tax on accommodation has been reduced from 12 to 8 per cent, besides reduction of sales tax on cooked food and non-alcoholic beverages from 10 to 8 per cent and on LPG from 20 to 8 per cent.

"I may incur a loss of around Rs six crore annually due to this exercise, but ultimately it would accrue more income due to more business in more areas", states Parrikar. He also provides figures of 21 per cent rise in luxury tax collection last year due to such tax reduction exercise.


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