Goa tourism dept's proposed bill aims at plugging revenue leakages, regulating sector: Minister

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Panaji, July 8 (PTI) The draft bill for promoting tourism in Goa aims to plug revenue leakages and bring discipline to the sector, meeting stakeholder expectations, state tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Khaunte addressed concerns raised by opposition MLAs who had labelled the proposed Goa Tourism Promotion Management and Regulation Bill, 2024, as anti-tourism industry.

He accused the Opposition of spreading false propaganda by stating that the tourism department would levy tax on organising events, including marriages, in the state.

The minister clarified that the bill aims to charge fees for tourism-related events.

"There is significant revenue leakage from events that never pay any fees to the tourism department. We will levy a fee to regulate these events," Khaunte said.

He also addressed concerns about the Tourism Police force, stating that it already exists in the state. The Bill, he said, would authorise the Director of Tourism to determine their deployment based on need.

"Fear is being spread that we are creating a parallel police force who will enter shops and create terror. There is nothing like that. There is no parallel police force," he added.

The minister further said the Bill speaks about levying two per cent fees on various tourism services, which will be applicable only to those businesses which are located in tourism clusters.

"There are no tourism clusters in the state at present. Even if we want to declare tourism clusters, we will do it by taking the stakeholders into confidence," he said.

He added that the tax collected from these clusters would be used to enhance tourism facilities in the respective areas.

The minister said the Bill is being drafted and the government is accepting suggestions from stakeholders and common people.

He said the deadline for suggestions has been extended by 15 days till July 21. PTI RPS NSK