Goa study says tourism's adverse impact deserves "urgent attention"


#1 Dec 15th, 2006, 05:39
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Tourism, the much vaunted sector in the Goan economy, is
causing an "adverse impact" in various sectors in this small
state, says a research project sponsored by the Confederation
of Indian Industry.

Undertaken by the Goa Institute of Management, a prominent
management training institution here, the CII-sponsored study
calls for taking "cognisance" of these issues.

It says some "current problems" that deserve urgent attention
include the large-scale growth of tourism leading to
increased pressure "on both society and the environment".

"Preserving the national heritage and reducing environmental
degradation become crucial issues for concern. There is a
need to examine the 'carrying capacity' of the state," argues
the 116-page study just released here.

This study looks at a range of issues -- agriculture, mining,
Goa's growing pharma sector, its SME (small and medium
enterprise) sector, the controversy-stricken plans for
promoting SEZs (special economic zones) here, services,
fiscal issues, and more.

But its critique of issues emerging from tourism are fairly
strong. It points out that Goa's economy is "confronted" by a
solid waste management problem.

It adds: "So far, enough effort has not been made to ensure
proper solid waste management. Again, absence of efficient
public transport has increased the growth of motorbikes and
cars substantially. This, in turn, has aggravated
environmental pollution."

It points to the migration of unskilled labour from
neighbouring states "on account of the non-availability of
unskilled workers" in Goa itself.

Other issues it points to: disputes over land use (between
small entrepreneurs and large corporates); the dependence on
other states for agricultural produce consumed in Goa;
failure to ensure uninterrupted power; and need for improving
water supply (both quantity and quality).

Significantly, it said a "strong positive co-relation" does
not seem to exist between tourism growth, especially the
hotel industry, and employment for locals. It cited a study
which said 80% of workforce employed in hotels are not
"residents of Goa".

"This can be partly on account of of high wage rates
prevailing in Goa, as compared to other under-developed
States, and therefore managers prefer to hire workers from
other states," says the study.

It points to the expensive private transport prevailing in
Goa "in the absence of adequate public transport". Taxi
operators were working in "monopoly power" and passengers
were victimised because of the North Goa-South Goa taxi
owners' dispute.

"Growth of tourism might have adversely affected the poor and
downtrodden, especially during the peak season, when prices
usually go up substantially. A proper assessment needs to be
done," says the study.

It blames the tourism sector for becoming a "breeding ground
of touts and commission agents", which jacks up hotel tariff
and transport costs. There's also an absence of proper
regulatory mechanism to check the price rise, it admits.

Says the study: "Wide disparity in prices charged during the
peak and off-peak season for various services and between the
private and publicity authority needs to be examined.The
asymmetry of information needs to be abolished. The economy
cannot afford to victimise the tourist by the private sector.
There is a need for a proper regulatory mechanism to ensure
the prevalence of a stable price."

It notes that Goa lacks budget hotels. Citing a figure, it
says Goa's tourism department provides "around 600 beds per
day at an affordable price". But this, it suggests, is
insufficient, specially in season.

Ironically, one of the most biting truths to emerge here is
the limited role of the Goa government -- despite all the
bombast -- in promoting tourism.

Says the study: "So far, the Government of Goa did not
participate actively in promoting tourism, except marketing
officially abroad in some fairs. The investment made by the
government under the tourism sector are mainly to support
government tourism establishments, to attend festival
programmes, and the like. (*****)
#2 Dec 15th, 2006, 08:41
Join Date:
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Land that shakes and bakes.
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  • edwardseco is offline
#2
Repulsive way to base an economy, on tourism. The only worse way is on gambling or other vices. Fortunately we have the Al Q wackos..

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