Minister's message: Don't go Goa

IANS
Jun 05, 2009 at 12:30pm IST

Panaji: Following Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik's call to assess the quality of foreign tourists coming to Goa, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Churchill Alemao has now raised fears about the quantity of tourists that Goa attracts.

Alemao said to the reporters on Thursday that he was against an increase in the number of tourists coming to the state.

"Goa will be finished if more tourists come to the state. If instead of 400,000 tourists, five million come here, what is the future of Goans?" Alemao asked.

NO VISITOR PLEASE: PWD Minister is not interested in developing infrastructure for the tourists in Goa.

He also said that he was not in favour of building a second airport at Mopa in North Goa.

"The number of tourists coming in from the present airport at Dabolim is enough. We do not need more tourists, this is clear," he said.

The Mopa airport, scheduled to be constructed in Pernem sub-district near the Maharashtra border, is one of the pet projects of Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

On May 28, Naik had questioned the merit of tourism centred around nightlife, calling for a reassessment of the benefits it brought in for the state.

Naik had also blamed the increase in the number of crimes against foreigners on the tourists themselves, whom he accused of moving about after getting drunk late in the night.

Goa sees nearly two million tourists a year. Tourism contributes Rs 15 billion in revenue to the state government, which is virtually 50 per cent of the state's income.

Alemao's statements also come in the wake of concern expressed by the tourism industry as well as the finance secretary Udipta Ray, who is chalking out special concessions for bottom-end tourism players to buffer the twin shock of the global recession and the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.

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