Goa tourism body fears Mahadayi protests will hurt tourism further
Goa’s tourism body has expressed fears that political protests over water dispute with Karnataka could further hurt state’s tourism, which is already in decline, and said that two wrongs cannot make a right.
Goa’s opposition parties and activists are opposing a project aimed at diverting water from the Mahadayi river to Karnataka and the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa feels it will further “dissuade tourists from visiting the state”.
“We do understand that the Mahadayai issue is a serious issue which needs to be settled expeditiously and we are equally concerned about it. But it should not be at the cost of destroying tourism in our state of Goa,” TTAG president Savio Messias said in a statement.
Stakeholders say foreign tourist arrivals are down by 30% and the domestic tourism isn’t growing.
“Foreign traffic is down by as much as 30%. Domestic traffic is down as well. Christmas has not looked good but the New Year is looking better,” said Jack Sukhija, an official of the state’s tourism body.
Goa has seen two protests against the recent Citizenship Amendment Act and ongoing rallies by the Congress party on the Mahadayi issue.Hoteliers fear the atmosphere of protests will dissuade the foreign tourists.
“Tourism is declining in Goa and in the garb of solving the Mahadayi issue, we should not be seen as responsible for the destruction of tourism in Goa,” Messias said and added, “In correcting or objecting to one wrong, we cannot do another wrong.”
The Congress has, however, taken a dim view of the TTAG opinion.
“This is a fight for the survival of Goa, if we do not win this, there will be no Goa left, much less any tourism to live on,” said Digambar Kamat, the leader of opposition in Goa Assembly.