Tourism Minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar on Wednesday said that as there have been a large number of illegal hotels the government will soon make it mandatory for all hotels to register with the tourism department.
Speaking after chairing a meeting of tourism industry stakeholders at the secretariat, Ajgaonkar said that all hotels – whether big or small – will have to get registered or face legal action.
“We will impose a fine for non-registration and can even file court case,” Ajgaonkar warned, adding that compulsory registration would also help the tourism department correctly ascertain the number of tourist arrivals.
He said the meeting looked into the reasons for the decline in tourist arrivals in the ongoing season and ways to solve the problems faced by industry.
“All problems will be addressed jointly after taking all into confidence,” he promised.
On the demand for lowering the visa-on-arrival fee, he said that it could only be done by the Centre.
But the government would look at the possibility of giving a rebate to tourists visiting the state.
Terming the meeting “fruitful”, the Tourism Minister assured that the future promotion tours and roadshows of the GTDC would be inclusive and the government would allow stakeholders to have a say in the marketing policy.
The meeting had been called by the Tourism Minister on the insistence of local industry.
Attended by representatives of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, Small and Medium Hotels Association, general managers of hotels and other trade members, the meeting took up issues such as the marketing and promotion measures as well as issues like the beggar menace, garbage, high GST, steep taxi charges and poor infrastructure.
The TTAG questioned Ajgaonkar on the legislation banning drinking in beaches and public places and also the law on registration of online travel companies.
TTAG president Savio Messias said the ban on drinking in public places needs to be implemented through signage, enforcement and deterrent measures, adding that regulating online players would be tough as they are international companies.
The TTAG is planning to come out with a white paper on problems plaguing Goa tourism and solutions for the same by March 1.
SMHA president Serrafino Cotta said the government listened to the demands of stakeholders patiently but members are watchful as to whether their issues will be resolved.
The problem of illegal hotels was highlighted by the SMHA recently which said the illegal hotels are on par with legitimate players in terms of room capacity and accounts for 50 per cent of the accommodation in the state.