The Goa Government has assured to review the latest cess imposed on hospitality industry, the lifeline of the state’s economy, following protest from the tourism industry players.
“The Government will re-examine the issues raised by the tourism industry. We will do whatever possible to attract more tourists,” Chief Minister Digamber Kamat said, reacting to tourism industry’s demand of revision of 5 per cent cess levied on room rents and Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on food and breweries in the state.
Mr. Kamat was addressing a function organised by the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), the apex trade body of the tourism sector, on Friday.
TTAG was unhappy with the government’s decision to impose a fresh cess at a time when international tourist inflow had slipped by 20 per cent post-Mumbai terror attacks.
The Chief Minister promised his government will take all necessary steps required for further growth of the foreign exchange earning industry. “The Government gives top priority to tourism. It’s for us to see that tourists are cared for.”
Mr. Kamat said schemes like beach safety management, implemented through private participation, have been taken up to allay safety fears of the guests visiting the state.
Downplaying the bad publicity earned by Goa in recent past, he said any tourism destination with international repute gets both good and bad publicity.
“The number of deaths due to drowning has drastically reduced after beach management scheme became a reality. This had sent a good signal to tourist that government of Goa cares for their safety,” Mr. Kamat said.
Tourism industry brings sometimes good things and sometimes bad things. But you will find that tourism industry has dealt with such impact effectively, the CM stated.
“But, it’s for all of us to work together and see how we can get maximum good things and reduce bad things. This could be attained by working hand in hand with tourism industry,” he added.