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Panaji:

Stakeholders in the tourism sector in Goa has come up with open disagreement with the state and central government over their inability to deal with the drop in tourist arrivals in the state. They said that this will have an impact in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Tourism is one of the top revenue generating sectors in Goa.

According to the figures available with the tourism department last year, around 6 million tourists – including domestic and foreign travellers – visit the place annually. But the number has come down drastically.

In a news report published by the PTI, the president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa – an apex body of tour operators in the state – Savio Messiah said, “there has been around 40 per cent drop in foreign tourists in Goa, which is tremendous.”

Though no exact figures are available to point-out specifically, “there was definitely a drop in occupancy in hotels in the state,” he said.

In February this year, tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar, during an interaction with the industry stakeholders talked about the slump in the Tourism sector. However, he did not show any figures or statistics to further explain it.

Responding to the claim by the stakeholders, he said that the government is committed to resolving all problems faced by the industry.

Hotels in Goa now majorly depend on MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism. “Our woes will certainly be one of the issues during the Lok Sabha polls,” said Ajgaonkar.

Goa’s Traditional Shack Owners Association president Manuel Cardoso was quoted in the report expressing a similar sentiment as that of Messiah. He said that Ajgaonkar had “failed” to check drop in the number of visitors to the state.

“The Centre has not done much for the growth of Goa’s tourism industry. When Lok Sabha poll candidates come asking for votes this time, we want an assurance about a solution to our problems. The candidate who can provide a solution to these issues will get the votes,” he said.

Elections to the two seats in Goa is scheduled on April 23 and the results will be declared on May 23.

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