Goa Tourism News

World Ayurveda Congress from Dec 8 to 11
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Union minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal said Goa is the most attractive tourist destination and has the potential to turn into a preferred medical tourism destination in the near future.“Traditional medicine has now been well accepted by the global community due to its credibility. The World Ayurveda Congress has to be used to promote Goa as a place for medical tourism,” Sonowal said on Thursday at the curtain raiser of the ninth World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo that will be held in Goa from December 8 to 11. ‘Ayurveda for One Health’ is the theme of the expo that will be held at Kala Academy. The event is being organised by the World Ayurveda Foundation, an initiative of Vijnana Bharati, and supported by the Union government. It will witness an assemblage of about 5,000 ayurveda stakeholders — industry leaders, practitioners, traditional healers, educationists, students, drug manufacturers, growers of medicinal plants and marketing strategists — from across the world.The organisers said they expect delegates from over 45 countries to attend the expo. Union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik and health minister Vishwajit Rane were among those present for the curtain raiser.The four-day event will have seven plenary sessions, 16 themes for oral presentation, a string of associated events, and a public outreach programme. The plenary will be addressed by eminent scientists, academicians, policy makers and Ayurveda practitioners.A seminar on medicinal plants by the National Medicinal Plants Board, a conclave on Pashu Ayurveda are some of the activities that are part of the schedule.There will also be a session on Ayurveda and media. A short film festival on Ayurveda has also been planned. Sonowal also said that the ministry of Ayush with all stakeholders celebrates ayurveda day every year on Dhanvantari Jayanti. He said that the motto of this year’s celebration has been “har din har ghar ayurveda” (ayurveda everyday, ayurveda everywhere). “Around 22 ministries and departments of the government of India are collaborating for this event,” he said.

World Ayurveda Congress from Dec 8 to 11
Goa to host 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo from December 8 to 11
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Goa will host 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo, a biggest event in traditional wellness system from December 8 to 11. Organised by World Ayurveda Foundation, an initiative of Vijnana Bharti, the expo is expected to give a transformational push to ayurveda to bring it into global focus. "Ayurveda for one health" is the focus theme of the December expo. As a prelude to the World Ayurveda Congress, Sabarnanda Sonowal, Union ayush minister, chief minister Pramod Sawant, union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik, health minister Vishwajit Rane and minister for art Govind Gaude attended the curtain raiser event held in Panaji on Thursday.

Goa to host 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo from December 8 to 11
  • Goa to host 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo from December 9 to 11
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa will host 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo, a biggest event in traditional wellness system from December 8 to 11. Organised by World Ayurveda Foundation, an initiative of Vijnana Bharti, the expo is expected to give a transformational push to ayurveda to bring it into global focus. "Ayurveda for one health" is the focus theme of the December expo. As a prelude to the World Ayurveda Congress, Sabarnanda Sonowal, Union ayush minister, chief minister Pramod Sawant, union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik, health minister Vishwajit Rane and minister for art Govind Gaude attended the curtain raiser event held in Panaji on Thursday.

With the Pandemic waning, Goa sees a busy start to the festive season
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

This year Goa’s hotspot beaches like Calangute and Candolim were packed with tourists who were vacationing in Goa during the Dussehra holidays. The beaches were crowded with tourists, and the water-sport activities were in full swing. With the tourism department granting the licenses to several operators, the season seems to have started with a bang. Ciril Siqueira who has a shack in Calangute says this might indicate a good season to start. “The season has started and by this time we usually set up the shacks. The domestic crowd has begun coming in and this is a good beginning for us as shack owners. We are currently waiting for the Diwali vacations when Goa will have a higher influx of local tourists. By then, our shacks will also be fully functional.” Babu, who has a bike rental agency in Calangute, said that he is looking forward to this tourism season with more vacations and festivities waiting to happen. “We rented out almost 60-70% of our vehicles. Most of them were non-geared bikes, and some cars too. I believe that if the season starts well, the rest of the season, which includes Diwali-Christmas-New Year, will go smoothly.” Pradeep Raghu who came to Goa with his family, loved the vibe of the place. “We have been coming to Goa almost every year, but during the pandemic we didn’t get to go out much. Now, since the children have holidays, we drove from Hampi to Goa. We love to go to Anjuna and chill there, with our friends who stay there.”

With the Pandemic waning, Goa sees a busy start to the festive season
Goa: Soon, app-based booking for Dudhsagar tours likely
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PONDA: A delegation of Dudhsagar Tour Operators Association met chief minister Pramod Sawant along with local MLA and chairperson of the Tourism Development Corporation, Ganesh Gaonkar, to discuss creating an app to facilitate tour bookings to the scenic Dudhsagar waterfalls. In 2020, the association had attempted to develop such an app. At present, there is an online booking portal besides counter bookings. App-based bookings will bring in transperancy, Gaonkar told TOI. “Presently the forest entry fee, panchayat fee for life jackets, etc, are collected by the association’s person for counter bookings, which is later paid to the authorities concerned. However, the app gateway will directly credit the amount to the authorities’ accounts,” he said. The association is looking to start app-based bookings within two months on a trial basis and if everything works smoothly, the system would continue. Counter bookings will continue, too. “This is to facilitate those tourists who visit the falls without planning to, or those who are not so internet savvy,” Gaonkar said. Currently, 431 jeeps attached to the DTOA are registered with the state wildlife board to ferry passengers to the foot of the Dudhsagar falls. The Goa State Wildlife Board has, however, restricted the number of jeeps that can operate to only 240. The jeeps ferry visitors to the scenic waterfall via a kutcha road deep into the forest of Bhagwan Mahavir sanctuary in Collem village of Dharbandorataluka.

Goa: Soon, app-based booking for Dudhsagar tours likely
Antarctic Act proves India is keen to conserve icy continent: Expert
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The Indian Antarctic Act, which received the President’s assent on August 6 this year, proves India’s commitment towards the conservation of the southern icy continent, said former director of the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) Rasik Ravindra. Ravindra, who headed the committee that helped frame the Antarctic legislation, said the Centre is keen to increase its role in the Antarctic Treaty System, which governs activities in the inhospitable and fragile continent.India is a ‘consultative party’ to the Antarctic Treaty, but had not enacted legislations on Antarctica, a void that has now been filled.“The Act exhibits the intention and seriousness of our government towards increasing its role in the Antarctic Treaty System and thereby enhancing our influence within the close network of nations that play a decisive part in upholding the principles of the Antarctic Treaty,” said Ravindra in an exclusive interaction with TOI.Ravindra served as a member of the UN’s body that is focussed on oceans and law of the sea, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He has led several expeditions to the Earth’s south pole.The Indian Antarctic Act comes at the right time when tourism in Antarctica is expected to hit a record high. As per a forecast, more than one lakh tourists are likely to visit Antarctica in 2022-23. The legislation will help adopt a precautionary approach towards sustainable management of tourism as far as Indian tourists to the icy continent are concerned, said Ravindra.The Antarctic Treaty and the Madrid Protocol, which define the rules for conservation of Antarctica’s pristine ecosystem, are binding on all the nations signatory to the treaty. Twenty-seven countries have already enacted legislations on Antarctica to enforce their national laws on citizens and researchers who are working or visiting the continent.“India has already supported the establishment of marine protected areas around the Ross Sea and is committed to joining the Antarctic nations that are working towards creating more reserves or marine protected areas south of the Antarctic circle to protect endangered marine species and preserve the overall marine biodiversity in the Southern Ocean,” said Ravindra.

Antarctic Act proves India is keen to conserve icy continent: Expert
Goa minister Rohan Khaunte meets water sports operators to iron out issues
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Aimed at streamlining the system before the season gets busier, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte recently met with water sports operators to discuss various problems faced by them. The crucial issues the department wants to deal with are cheating of customers, illegal operators, rampant touting and over charging. A tourism official said that water sports activities should be an enjoyable experience for tourists and that accidents should be avoided. Some operators spoke about illegal travel agencies operating from starred hotels that fleece tourists. They also sell packages of water sports activities at Malvan in Maharashtra, a prominent tourist spot of the neighbouring state,, they alleged, and demanded that these illegal agencies be stopped. The complainants were asked to share names of these agencies so that action can be taken against them, the officer said. On the issue of rate charts, the department said that it wants to notify common rates for various water sports activities. While operators had earlier been instructed to display boards in their zones specifying the rates, only a few do it. Also, just five operators have submitted their rate charts after being asked to. The others have been asked to submit the same within seven days, the official said. Operators have also been instructed to follow a queue system and to function in their demarcated areas in order to avoid clashes. “Issues such as queue management, standardisation of rates and demarcation of boundaries will be managed through a GEL software,” the officer said. The demand for a lifetime licence to operate boats for joy rides was rejected by the department, but the official said that the possibility of issuing licences for a longer term could be considered. There was a request to set-up a toilet at Nerul beach to which Khaunte agreed to identify and provide suitable land. Water sports operators were also instructed not to indulge in unhealthy trade practice and adopt modern technology.

Goa minister Rohan Khaunte meets water sports operators to iron out issues
New visa rules likely to bring fewer Brits to Goa this season
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: If the Omicron variant of Covid-19 combined with non-issuance of e-visas to UK travellers led to cancellation of charters from the UK to Goa during the last tourist season, a change in visa rules has proved a spoiler this year. Goa will likely see fewer arrivals of tourists from the UK this season as Tui Airlines, which was desiring to operate four flights a week starting November, may start with a single trip a week. Recently, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) was informed by TUI about the impending problem. Besides increased travel costs, the complexity and inconvenience in getting a visa has led to a high number of cancellations. With the reduction in load factor, TUI informed TTAG that a point has been reached where it will not be able to operate the four flights a week. “To reach the required minimum seats to operate the aircraft, we will amalgamate the two flights from Manchester and two from Gatwick into one from each departure point — Gatwick on Friday and Manchester on Saturday,” TUI said. The arrangement will last till the second week of December. “From December 13, we are still selling the four flights per week, but this could also change,” the communication read. A traveller has to appear in person at a visa centre in the UK while applying for a tourist visa has proved to be a stumbling block. Even if a traveller wishes to travel an extra mile to visit the centre, it is not necessary that he will be lucky enough to get an appointment, said a local tour operator. “Uncertainty over visas has led to cancellations of bookings by Britons, but the picture about the total business lost will be clear only next week,” a local operator said. Last season, Goa had not received a single charter flight from the UK with TUI cancelling its plan. TTAG president Nilesh Shah told TOI that chief minister Pramod Sawant had spoken to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMOs) office, trying his best to see that the visa issue was resolved before the season could start, but the status quo hasn’t changed. Similarly, arrivals of tourists from Kazakhstan may also be affected due to visa issues.

New visa rules likely to bring fewer Brits to Goa this season
‘Withdraw word limit for jetty policy inputs’
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: A voluntary organisation, Goyche Fudle Pilge Khatir, on Monday in a letter to the tourism minister, secretary, director and public grievance officer of the tourism department called for withdrawal of conditions imposed by the department on the general public for sending in objections to the draft jetty policy 2022. It also called for the policy to be made available in vernacular languages, besides English.The organisation has said it will reject the draft and final jetty policy as well as initiating a mass agitation to oppose the policy if the two conditions of sending in objections and suggestions only via email and restricted to 500 “Your office will be held responsible and accountable for the consequences that will flow from your adamant conduct of affairs,” the organisation stated. “We wish to remind you that not all the people living in riparian lands and coastal areas of Goa have email addresses. Making email submissions compulsory is a sign of absurdity, intended towards exclusion of mass of Goans from the process of decision making,” president of the organisation J Mascarenhas stated.It also said that the word limit to objections and suggestions is in violation of Article 19 of the Constitution as it introduces “gagging as mode of governance”.“We have also noted that the draft jetty policy is circulated only in English, bypassing Konkani in Roman and Devanagiri script along with Marathi. This has contributed towards exclusion of mass of people of Goa from decision making,” the organisation statedasking the department to stop taking people of Goa for granted in the name of the draft jetty policy 2022.The organisation will organise a public discussion of the draft jetty policy 2022 at 4:30pm on October 12 at Grace Church hall, Margao for the public. Social activists Swapnesh Sherlekar and Avinash Tavares as well as Bharat Mukti Morcha activist Sebastiao Rodrigues will explain the draft policy to the public.

‘Withdraw word limit for jetty policy inputs’
IIT Mandi start up to launch world’s first giant swing backed by AI in Manali
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Come January, tourists in Manali will be able to get adrenaline rush riding a giant swing backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has been built by a start up incubated at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi and is claimed to be the first-of-its kind in the world.Founded by four childhood adventure enthusiast friends who are engineers and certified rock climbers and mountaineers, the start up called ‘ManaliSwing’, has completed its human jump trials and is in process of filing five patents for the concept and design.The team claims it has already been approached by Dubai government to launch the swing in the country and is in conversation with interested agencies in Switzerland too.“We will offer one of the world’s most creative and safe giant swing like bungy jumping but instead of going down on rubber bungy cord, here one freefall followed by giant swing on dual dynamic ropes with over 100 possible jump styles allowing one to experience the adrenaline of 70m free fall with AI promising impeccable safety like never before,” Utsav Soni, one of the founders, told PTI.“The plan is to launch in Manali on new year. The tourists will have to pay Rs 3,000 for each jump. The cost will include transportation from a certain point and professional photography and videography service,” he added.The start up conducted a full-scale trial of 1,000 dummy jumps followed by successful Human Jumps under the special presence of IRATA experts at IIT Hyderabad.“The AI will also help track participants and jump master’s performance across millions of data points and deliver optimized approvals for jumping. Having a really intelligent AI will be an edge for a Jump Master and his team making sure no injury, incident, or causality can happen on the site. For example, AI will not approve the jump if there is anything wrong with the followed jump protocol or international standards.“This will be one of the best intersections of technology, innovation and adventure sport of this decade which has potential to disrupt the whole adventure tourism industry. The good part is that we don’t need to have some special hi-tech cameras and expensive setups to do this. This can be franchised anywhere in the world with an existing standard hi-res CCTV security camera feed,” he added.The team has plans to launch the second similar swing in Goa and then take the technology to other countries.“India, despite been world’s youngest country with 50 per cent population below 25, stands at 96th position in global Adventure Tourism Competitive Index (ATDI) 2020. That too is consistently decreasing since last 4 years. India ranks much lower than its neighbours, Bhutan (14th), and Nepal (67th). Especially, when there is a 178 per cent increase in demand of adventure activity in last 3 years.“Somewhere, India has failed to cultivate the culture of innovation in extreme adventure tourism. It’s Incredible India but not innovative India in terms of adventure tourism compared to its global potential. We already have been approached by Dubai government and talks are on at Switzerland too but plan is to launch in India first,” Soni said.The project which was conceptualised five years back was commercially registered last year as a start up. “We approached IIT Mandi with the idea and three months later we were an incorporated company with firs working prototype,” he added.

IIT Mandi start up to launch world’s first giant swing backed by AI in Manali
Min: GoaMiles counter by next wk at airport
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

Panaji: Transport minister Mauvin Godinho on Saturday said that a GoaMiles cab counter would open at Goa International Airport, Dabolim, next week, as per the state’s commitment to the high court.“Our app-based taxi counter will be opened at the Dabolim airport next week,” he said. “The high court has given directives, yet people are interfering. Our GoaMiles app is such a good app. A 25-year agreement has been signed with them by the tourism department, which again is not my department. We cannot throw them out. Let us bring them in first. A decision on Ola or Uber can be taken later.” He said that private taxi operators in Goa opposing the move to start the GoaMiles counter will be allowed to work for both the app as well as to take customers at the prepaid counter. “I am giving you an open offer, you join GoaMiles, but if you are getting a better charge at the prepaid cab counter, you can choose to take that customer. You are getting the best of both worlds. If they are not able to understand this, they have some thinking to do. Whether they (private taxi operator associations) agree or not, I am going ahead with my decision. Our legal officials have given a commitment in the court,” Godinho said.He said that earlier, private taxi operators had been opposing the fitting of digital meters, but had to comply when the high court issued directives. The transport minister said that the high court may also similarly step in in the app-based cab aggregator matter.“Karnataka may have banned Ola and Uber, that is their issue,” he said. “We are not concerned with it. All I want to say is that GoaMiles app of Goa is better than Ola and Uber. Now that Karnataka has banned it, two agencies have to take a call over it — one is our government and GMR. GMR is a private airport (at Mopa). We cannot tell them to take Ola or someone else. They want to give multiple choices. Let them take a call. I want to put things in order at Dabolim.”

Min: GoaMiles counter by next wk at airport
Panaji footbridge, Reis Magos ropeway get GCZMA approval
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) at its meeting last month has granted CRZ clearance to a number of tourism related projects, including the footbridge connecting the multi-level parking complex in Panaji to Santa Monica jetty. The passenger ropeway from Reis Magos to Panaji and temporary jetty behind Aguada Jail museum have also got nod from GCZMA. Based on the application by the tourism department, GCZMA asked its expert member to carry out site inspection in August for the footbridge connecting the multi-level parking building to Santa Monica jetty. “The project proponent, K Gandhi Raju, showed the place where the pile foundations are being laid. The foot overbridge is being constructed with the purpose to ease pedestrian movement from the parking area to the jetty. Currently, there is no space for the visitors to cross the road and access the jetty area,” the inspection report stated. The GCZMA expert member said that the foot overbridge will not require much excavation, except for the pile foundation on either side. “Near the parking area, there are two trees that need to be cut. It is recommended that proper permission for cutting the trees may be obtained from the Goa forest department. Efforts must be made to transplant these trees to a safer place. The proposal seems to be good in terms of easing the traffic movement, especially pedestrians. The same may be permitted after due deliberation in the authority meeting,” the expert member recommended. GCZMA accordingly decided to approve the project. Similarly, the general manager of Goa Tourism Development Corporation sought clearance for the passenger ropeway from Reis Magos to Panaji to allied tourism activities, which was also permitted by the coastal body based on a report by its expert member. Drishti Cruise Ferries has also been granted NOC for ‘installation of temporary jack-up jetty at Aguada Jail Museum Project’ and at Bogmalo beach.

Panaji footbridge, Reis Magos ropeway get GCZMA approval
CM launches new ind’l policy, mega projects assured perks
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

Panaji: CM Pramod Sawant on Friday pitched Goa as a favourable investment destination that has supportive policies, excellent road infrastructure, skilled labour and globally-recognised value. Sawant released the new industry policy for Goa at the Invest Goa 2022 summit, where he also promised to ease all hurdles for investors who choose to do business in Goa.In his address at the two-day investment summit, Sawant said that there has been an improvement in the ease of doing business environment, with significant reforms brought in.In a bid to increase private sector participation in Goa’s economy, the state is willing to offer special incentive packages for mega-projects that bring in more than Rs 100 crore, along with a single-window clearance and greater emphasis on public-private participation, said senior government officials.Sawant informed investors that the greenfield airport at Mopa will be inaugurated in December at the hands of PM Narendra Modi.“In ease of doing business, over the past three years, Goa has witnessed a spate of reforms,” said Sawant. “The new industrial policy is industry friendly, where one requires just a self-attested declaration rather than NOCs, which is a game changer.”The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and Ernest & Young (EY) organised the event at the Taleigao community centre.Sawant handed over letters of intent to 23 firms which have submitted business proposals to invest in Goa. The Invest Goa 2022 summit organisers said that many more investments are expected to come into the state, particularly in the logistics, tourism, IT and startups space.“It is for you to decide to make Goa your venture state, and when you arrive, you will find that Goa is indeed the place to do business with pleasure. All eco-friendly industries are most welcome in Goa,” said Sawant.Sawant, along with industries minister Mauvin Godinho and IT minister Rohan Khaunte, released the Goa industrial growth and investment promotion policy, 2022, which offers a series of sops for investors. State government officials are counting on the revamped policy and the Invest Goa summit to become an inflection point in the state’s investment trajectory and industrial activity.“A lot of interest is generated after the new industrial investment policy was released,” said summit convener Manguirish Pai Raiker. “Many are calling to enquire and substantiate the various sections in the policy and are wanting to make their presence in the state. GCCI has decided to start a facilitation centre in their Panaji office and would collaborate with the prospective investors and the government agencies.”

CM launches new ind’l policy, mega projects assured perks
Goa: ‘Water sports ops to remain with locals’
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Thursday clarified that his ministry has no intent to corporatise the water sports activities, and the profession which has been with Goan operators will remain with them. “Water sports will remain in the hands of Goans. We are only streamlining the system. There is no mention of corporate in the draft,” Khaunte told reporters as he explained the motive for having a jetty policy and the purpose of reducing the number of documents required to be submitted by an entity while registering with the department. Any activity linked to tourism has to be registered with the tourism department. Recently, the department reduced the documents required to be obtained from it during registration. Ever since the draft jetty policy was released, the department has come under fire, with some alleging that the government has a hidden agenda behind the move. Addressing the media along with tourism director Nikhil Desai, Khaunte said the main purpose was to remove illegalities in the water sports activities, and to stop illegal guides and touts who have become the main beneficiary of the water sports activities. Pointing out to the illegal operation of boat rides with pick-ups happening close to a starred hotel at Campal, Khaunte said no action has been taken despite bringing it to the notice of the police department. “We have not given them permission to operate, and yet they conduct their activities,” said Khaunte. The minister said that his department wants to put things in order so that tourists are not cheated, and appealed to stakeholders not to get misled by those who have been making allegations ever since the government unveiled its plan. The jetty policy has been proposed only to weed out illegal operators and to ensure tourists are offered quality and secured service, he said. By having a jetty policy, the department plans to regulate the services offered at jetties which are in its domain. It feels removal of unregulated and illegal operators will plug revenue leakages. The tourism minister also stated that they will discuss the issue with stakeholders before finalising the jetty policy.

Goa: ‘Water sports ops to remain with locals’
  • ‘Will oppose water sports by non-locals’
  • Times of India

    Margao: Taking up cudgels for water sports operators of South Goa, GFP chief Vijai Sardesai on Monday said that his party will oppose any moves by the government to bring in “anti-local policies that will snatch all water sports activities from their hands and offer them to big corporates”.“We are being vocal for local. Water sports is a local business and should remain with locals, not with outsider lobbies,” Sardesai told reporters after a delegation of South Goa water sports association called on him with their grievances. Sardesai said that the water sports operators were apprehensive that the government intends to hand over the water sports business to corporates, thereby snatching their livelihoods, by bringing in jetty policy and in the name of ease of doing business. “The government wants the water sports operators to sign an undertaking that they will abide by the rules formed by the government governing water sports. They have decided to sign the undertaking but with a clause that the agreement be without prejudice to their rights and contentions,” Sardesai said. The Fatorda MLA also demanded that water sports in South Goa resume at the earliest as such activities have already begun on the North Goa beaches.However, he said that water sports operators were willing to cooperate with the government in so far as bringing in regulations concerning safety aspects or with regards to maintaining a queue system.“But in the guise of making a queue system, you can’t allow (corporates) to take over the business. This goes against the fundamental right of the local water sports operators to do business,” Sardesai said.He urged the government, particularly the tourism department, to take all stakeholders into confidence before finalising the new tourism policy.

After babus, ministers set to take governance to doorstep
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: After ‘Sarkar Tumchya Daari’ in which government officials visited villages to help resolve issues, now the state will hold a ‘Mantri Tumchya Daari’ programme. Ministers will visit taluka level offices, interact with locals and try to understand and resolve their issues this month. The programme will be held from October 6 to 14. The ministers address issues related to their departments in the presence of department staffers and municipality or village panchayat officials. The programme will begin from Thursday with minister for power and housing Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar visiting Bicholim. On day two, Friday, minister for agriculture and civil supplies Ravi Naik will visit Sanguem taluka and minister for fisheries and animal husbandry Nilkanth Halarnkar will visit Mormugao taluka. The same day, minister for art and culture Govind Gaude will travel to Salcete. October 10 will see minister for labour, revenue and waste management Atanasio Monserrate touring Ponda, while PWD and environment minister Nilesh Cabral will visit Sattari. Minister for health and TCP Vishwajit Rane will be in Pernem on October 10. On October 12, social welfare minister Subhash Phaldessai will visit Bardez, followed by WRD minister Subhash Shirodkar’s visit to Dharbandora on October 13. The initiative will end with transport minister Mauvin Godinho visiting Canacona and tourism minister Rohan Khaunte visiting Quepem.

After babus, ministers set to take governance to doorstep
NCPOR to frame rules to govern India’s activities in Antarctica
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) has been asked by the Centre to frame rules to govern India’s activities in the Antarctic region in accordance with the Indian Antarctic Act, 2022, enacted by Parliament. The Vasco-based research institute, which reports to the Union ministry of earth sciences, will take the lead in developing guidelines for research activities, tourism and marine conservation efforts. Given that the Antarctic Act extends the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica, rules need to be framed to prosecute and protect Indian citizens, or foreign nationals who are part of Indian expeditions in the environmentally-fragile region. So far, there is no provision for punishment in India for crimes committed during an expedition, including crimes against the Antarctic ecosystem like oil spills, cruelty to wildlife, destruction of heritage structures or violation of provisions of Antarctic specially-protected areas and specially-managed areas. “NCPOR is taking the lead in framing the rules of the Indian Antarctic bill. It is expected to be completed by March 2023,” said director in-charge of NCPOR, Thamban Meloth. The Antarctic treaty ensures that the icy continent is kept only for scientific and peaceful purposes, while taking care of the environment. Many countries implement and execute their Antarctic programs and expeditions under the jurisdiction of their respective countries. Twenty-seven countries have already enacted legislation on Antarctica to enforce their national laws while their citizens are in Antarctica. “The framed rules of the Indian Antarctic bill will act as a reference point for taking care of the liability annex, which deals with environmental emergencies related to scientific research programmes, tourism and all other governmental and non-governmental activities,” said scientist Rahul Mohan, who is the group director for NCPOR’s Antarctic operations and infrastructure. Mohan said that the Indian Antarctic Act and the rules that NCPOR will frame will ensure the overall safety of Antarctica. Antarctica remains a land without a sovereign control of a nation and hence each nation is supposed to have a legislation to control activities of its citizens in the icy continent.

NCPOR to frame rules to govern India’s activities in Antarctica
Aeroflot to operate 3 Russia-Goa flights/week
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, will operate three flights a week beginning November 2 from Moscow to Goa. Aruz, another Russian airline, will also be flying charter tourists into Goa. A tour and travel operator said the slots of landing for the two airlines have been approved. Russian president Vladimir Putin not imposing a travel ban on his countrymen has been good news in terms of boost to travel, the operator said. Ernest Dias, chief operating officer at Sita, said that the numbers will be no match to the pre-pandemic period, when Goa would receive one or even two charters a day during the tourism season. “Charters would come from various parts of Russia, not just Moscow.,” said Dias. ‘No clarity on UK charter ops due to e-visa issue’Also, charters in operation will be of smaller carrying capacity of fewer than 300 passengers, unlike earlier, when bigger flights with more than 500 passengers would arrive,” said Dias. Dias said that charters from Kazakhstan are expected later this month, but there is no clarity about the UK scene, although TUI Airways was keen to resume operations. The situation appears difficult due to the non-issuance of e-visas to UK travellers by India. Stakeholders were hoping the Indian government softens its stand and issues e-visas to Britishers. The Goa government has already taken up the issue with the Centre, while a trade body has made several petitions to the government. Last season, Goa received charters from Russia and Kazakhstan, altogether bringing in about 7,630 tourists. The brief charter season started in December 2021 and ended in March, soon after the Russia-Ukraine war started. A heavy flow of domestic arrivals has kept the industry in good shape, but stakeholders say that charter tourists are needed to keep cash registers of smaller hotels ringing, as this segment has not benefited from increased domestic footfalls over the past one-and-a-half years. In 2021, Goa received 33 lakh domestic tourists and around 22,000 foreigners.

Aeroflot to operate 3 Russia-Goa flights/week
  • Aeroflot to operate 3 Russia-Goa flights/wk
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, will operate three flights a week beginning November 2 from Moscow to Goa. Aruz, another Russian airline, will also be flying charter tourists into Goa. A tour and travel operator said the slots of landing for the two airlines have been approved. Russian president Vladimir Putin not imposing a travel ban on his countrymen has been good news in terms of boost to travel, the operator said.Ernest Dias, chief operating officer at Sita, said that the numbers will be no match to the pre-pandemic period, when Goa would receive one or even two charters a day during the tourism season.“Charters would come from various parts of Russia, not just Moscow.,” said Dias. Also, charters in operation will be of smaller carrying capacity of fewer than 300 passengers, unlike earlier, when bigger flights with more than 500 passengers would arrive,” said Dias.Dias said that charters from Kazakhstan are expected later this month, but there is no clarity about the UK scene, although TUI Airways was keen to resume operations.The situation appears difficult due to the non-issuance of e-visas to UK travellers by India. Stakeholders were hoping the Indian government softens its stand and issues e-visas to Britishers. The Goa government has already taken up the issue with the Centre, while a trade body has made several petitions to the government.Last season, Goa received charters from Russia and Kazakhstan, altogether bringing in about 7,630 tourists. The brief charter season started in December 2021 and ended in March, soon after the Russia-Ukraine war started.A heavy flow of domestic arrivals has kept the industry in good shape, but stakeholders say that charter tourists are needed to keep cash registers of smaller hotels ringing, as this segment has not benefited from increased domestic footfalls over the past one-and-a-half years.In 2021, Goa received 33 lakh domestic tourists and around 22,000 foreigners.

To attract high-end domestic tourists, Goa needs to get its basics right, say stakeholders
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

Panaji: While the aim of the Goa Tourism Policy, 2020, is to make Goa the most preferred destination of India’s high-spending tourists by 2024, the debate over whether the focus should indeed be on the niche segment has not ceased.The tourism policy has also set a target to make Goa a world-class international tourism destination by 2030. However, scaling the heights to attain the goals spelt out in the policy appears mammoth in the face of the inadvertent growth spurt the sector has been witnessing ever since the hippies thronged the state’s idyllic shores in the 1970s.Chairperson of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Ralph de Souza said the targets set by the policy are achievable if the focus lies on creating the infrastructure required to boost quality tourism.“We need seamless infrastructure, a golf course, marinas and overall quality in all kinds of tourism services. The government will not admit it, but the task cut out is fraught with hurdles. If planning any major infrastructure project was difficult 10 or 15 years ago, it is even more challenging today,” a stakeholder said.Over the past two decades, the government has talked about establishing a golf course in the state. The one planned at Tiracol in North Goa was mired in controversy since its inception and the promoters of the project filed for bankruptcy last year. The influx of holidaymakers, meanwhile, has only kept increasing over the last three decades. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Goa hosted 80-90 lakh domestic tourists and nine lakh foreign visitors each year, with industry insiders claiming that annual domestic tourist footfalls could be much higher if unregistered inventory is factored in. Chief minister Pramod Sawant and tourism minister Rohan Khaunte have been keen on creating the required infrastructure to give tourism a shot in the arm, but stakeholders said Goa has a long way to go before it reaches anywhere close to its targets. Also, while tourism stakeholders reaped rich dividends of the growing industry, the ill-effects of over-concentration along the state’s beaches either went unnoticed or ignored. “I see beaches getting destroyed little by little and empty spaces being littered with plastic and other waste. For a high-end tourist, waste dumped either at beaches or other places is appalling,” said a top hotelier on condition of anonymity.Chairman of the Kudchadkar Group of Companies, Nandan Kudchadkar, said that part of the problem can be dealt with by introducing a law to attach the vehicles and belongings of people defacing and littering Goa. He further said that those dependent on tourism also have a responsibility to keep public spaces clean, because whether they are hoteliers, shack operators or taxi drivers, everybody is a brand ambassador for the state.Nevertheless, tourism in the state is expected to get a much-needed boost once the first phase of the Mopa international airport becomes operational in the next two months. The commissioning of the second Zuari bridge and the completion of the four-laning of NH 66 will also help speed up traffic movement.“Even before the state proposes to have a golf course, marinas or works to increase the presence of high-end brands, the government has to get its basics right,” a hotelier said.

To attract high-end domestic tourists, Goa needs to get its basics right, say stakeholders
Have written to CM for reduction in shack fees: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

CALANGUTE: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Sunday said that he has handed over a memorandum to chief minister Pramod Sawant asking for reduction in beach shack fees because of the uncertainty over the arrival of foreign charter tourists. He also said that tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has assured him that the fees will be reduced. Lobo said the shacks reliant on foreign tourists have not been getting business with no charter flights in the last two seasons. “Till now there is no sign of foreign charters. They have asked for (landing) slots but till now there is no confirmation,” he said.

Have written to CM for reduction in shack fees: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo
  • Have written to CM for reduction in shack fees: Lobo
  • Times of India

    Calangute: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Sunday said that he has handed over a memorandum to chief minister Pramod Sawant asking for reduction in beach shack fees because of the uncertainty over the arrival of foreign charter tourists. He also said that tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has assured him that the fees will be reduced. Lobo said the shacks reliant on foreign tourists have not been getting business with no charter flights in the last two seasons. “Till now there is no sign of foreign charters. They have asked for (landing) slots but till now there is no confirmation,” he said.

Goa: App-based cabs ‘to start with Mopa airport’
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

PANAJI: Transport minister Mauvin Godinho said on Saturday that app-based taxis will start in Goa along with the Mopa International Airport becoming functional. “We will allow multi-modal transport at the Mopa airport,” he told TOI. “We will allow counters of pre-paid taxis, GoaMiles, Ola and Uber if they want to start, rent-a-car, (regular) taxis, and buses, at Mopa.” Godinho said that he doesn’t want the Mopa airport to face the same problems that Dabolim does with regard to transport. “Taxi owners do not want to use meters, nor do they want to develop their own app,” he said. “I want taxi operators at Dabolim airport to fall in line, else they will lose business once two airports are operational.” Explaining his stance, Godinho said that if taxi operators harass commuters at Dabolim airport and commuters get a wide choice of transport options at Mopa, most travellers will choose to fly through Mopa airport, leading to taxi operators losing business in Dabolim. “Electric KTC buses, rickshaws and two-wheeler motorbike taxis will all be aligned digitally to the last mile connectivity, which will ease the whole process. The main aim is to offer a choice to tourists as well as locals,” Godinho said. During the monsoon session, the state government had offered to help taxi operators if they wanted to start their own app. On Wednesday, CM Pramod Sawant said that app-based taxis will be available in Goa “soon, by November”, and that work has already started by the government. “Actually, we wanted to make app-based taxis available in Goa, before the tourist season for the year began,” Sawant told TOI. “As per our promise earlier, work on it has started. App-based taxis should be available in Goa soon, by November. ” Goa’s tourism season officially kicks off from the first week of October. The introduction of app-based taxis in Goa is being resisted by local private taxi associations in the state, who claim that their business will be severely affected.

Goa: App-based cabs ‘to start with Mopa airport’
  • App-based taxis to be available in Goa by November: CM Pramod Sawant
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: CM Pramod Sawant said on Wednesday that app-based taxis will be available in Goa “soon, by November”, and that work has already started by the government. “Actually, we wanted to make app-based taxis available in Goa, before the tourist season for the year began,” Sawant told TOI. “As per our promise earlier, work on it has started. App-based taxis should be available in Goa soon, by November.” Goa’s tourism season officially kicks off from the first week of October. Introduction of app-based taxis in Goa is being resisted by local private taxi associations in the state, who claim that their business will be severely affected. tnn

World Tourism Day celebrations held in the state
Times of India | 2 months ago | |
Times of India
2 months ago | |

The World Tourism Day celebrations commenced with a mini rally. The rally was flagged off from Dona Paula circle to Miramar and back. The rally had non-fuel based vehicles including bicycles, e-bikes, and electric vehicles. Shekhar Divadkar, SKAL President of Goa said, "The events are focused on Sustainable Tourism. The EV rally magnifies the relevance of the steps being taken and drives home the message of adopting a sustainable approach." Simultaneously, to soak in the history of the culturally rich state, walking tours were organised in Margao, Panaji, Old Goa, and Saligao during the day. The tours highlighted the rich history and heritage of the state. Goa is a culinary destination which has diverse offerings. Cidade de Goa along with Institute of Hotel Management Goa and in collaboration with TTAG organised a culinary contest for students of hospitality and home-based foodpreneurs. Tourism stakeholders along with the Chief Minister of Goa and other dignitaries will converge at the Taj Hotel and Convention Centre to discuss and deliberate on the future of tourism in the state and its potential growth in the near future. Traditional folk dances which are unheard of in tourism circles such as lamp dance , goff, zagor,ghode modni, madragoa and veer bhadra were performed. Speaking about public transport and the challenges faced by tourists who arrive into the state, Shekhar added, "To shift towards lesser use of fuel and carpooling, TTAG encourages tourists and locals to use e-bus services for airport transfers which are presently available at the airport. There are shuttle bus services being offered from the airport to Panjim, Calangue, Margao and Cavelossim at a nominal rate of INR 200. This initiative also helps to reduce the burden of road and other connectivity issues."

World Tourism Day celebrations held in the state
  • TTAG to celebrate World Tourism Day with a focus on sustainability
  • Times of India

    While World Tourism Day will be celebrated globally across nations on 27th September, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) in collaboration with SKAL Goa and Goa Tourism are gearing up for a day long celebration with a spate of events and activities lined up which will be open to all without a fee. Registrations can be done on : World Tourism Day 2022 Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant, govt officials, bureaucrats, tourism stakeholders and other dignitaries will be attending the celebration. Keeping in mind this year, global theme Rethink Tourism’, TTAG has planned the celebration differently by organising several events including an e-bike rally, heritage walks across the state, culinary contests and more. We want to showcase the varied offerings that the state has to offer beyond the obvious choices, said Nilesh Shah, President of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) “This is a great opportunity to bring all the tourism stakeholders as well as the Government on one platform wherein the support can contribute to making the coming tourist season a success and be more resilient to face challenges ahead. The celebration marks the start of the tourism season with international charters set to arrive. With the upgraded infrastructure, Goa is set to have a sizable share of the domestic pie," he added.