The state government is working overtime to transform Goa into a zero carbon emission state before 2050, Chief Minister, Dr. Pramod Sawant said on the occasion of World Tourism Day.
Dr. Pramod Sawant was speaking at an event organised by Goa Tourism, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) and SKAL Goa at Taj Cidade de Goa, Horizon, where Goa’s top travel and tourism industry stakeholders from TTAG, SKAL Goa, Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), CII-Goa, NRAI-Goa, GEVA and government representatives discussed ways and means of attracting green investment in the travel and tourism sector in the coastal state to make the sector more sustainable.
“We believe that Goa should be declared carbon emission zero before 2050. We are working to be the number one state in every way. We are creating infrastructure for green energy, which includes stations for charging. We have also decided to make Panaji a solar city in the near future,” Dr. Sawant said.
Dr. Sawant’s speech was part of the deliberations on the key theme of the event ‘Tourism and Green Investments’ on the occasion of the 43rd edition of World Tourism Day, which was jointly organised by the TTAG, SKAL Goa, both top travel and tourism industry stakeholder bodies and Goa Tourism.
The event was attended by Dr. Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister; Rohan Khaunte, Tourism Minister; Dr. Sanjay Goel, Tourism Secretary; Suneel Anchipaka, Director of Tourism and Managing Director GTDC, in the presence of Nilesh Shah, TTAG President and Vivek Kerkar SKAL President, with state tourism officials and tourism stakeholders.
According to Khaunte, the government was working on tourism sustainability in the state from a long term perspective, which meant “investing in the people, investing in the planet and investing in prosperity, through policies involving homestays, promoting sustainable tourism in the hinterlands, celebrating cultural festivals, which not only include Carnival and Shigmo, but festivals like Chikhal kalo and others too”.
Nilesh Shah said that the objective of the conference was to identify opportunities to attract green investments in Goa, one of the top beach and nightlife destinations in India.
“The 2023 theme for World Tourism Day is Tourism and Green Investments. Investing in sustainable tourism is investing in a better future for all. World Tourism Day 2023 is a call to action to the community, governments, financial institutions, development partners and private sector investors to unite around a new tourism investment strategy,” Shah said at the event, which was attended by a nearly 750-strong audience.
National Restaurants Association of India – Goa Chapter Head Prahlad Sukhtankar said that restaurants, however small, should adopt a sustainable approach. “A restaurant should always strive to adopt a sustainable approach, however small. This change has now been seen in Panaji, which is now a plastic-free zone. Restaurants of Goa too are using used oil to create biofuel,” Sukhtankar said.
TTAG, SKAL Goa and Goa Tourism honoured the family of late Vincent Ramos, Senior Vice President of the Indian Hotels Company Limited, while announcing an annual scholarship and a citation in his honour at the event. The citation was presented to Devansh Cholera of Cosmic Ventures for running an ‘Innovation Startup in Tourism’. A scholarship of Rs. 1 lakh instituted in memory of Ramos, was awarded to Joshua Fernandes, a first year student studying at the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) – Goa. Ramos, who passed away earlier this year, was a member of TTAG and SKAL’s Goa chapter and IHM Goa alumni.
“The tourism industry will always remember late Vincent Ramos who was a pillar of strength to us all and guiding light through difficult times that we all faced over the past few years,” SKAL Goa president Vivek Kerkar said.
Domain experts including Dr. Aaron Savio Lobo, Senior Advisor, Wildlife Conservation Society-India, in his keynote address spoke about the importance of marine conservation to tourism, while Anish Sousa Founder and CEO – Sun360 spoke about the challenges posed by the growing footprint of CO2 emissions in the state. Another keynote speaker Milind Prabhu, CEO of Genora Infotech, underlined the significance of artificial intelligence to the tourism sector.
In addition to the conference, World Tourism Day celebrations featured several events in the state. Make-it-Happen organised a heritage walk in Panaji for 150 students from various hospitality colleges in Goa, exploring the city’s heritage and community. Soul Travelling, a boutique heritage tour company, hosted five heritage walks across Goa, namely the Margao Cultural Walk, Christian Art Trail, Saligao Passoi, Temple Trail at Marcel, and Lost Fortress of Rachol, highlighting the state’s culture and heritage for tourists and locals.
A boat cruise was organised by the Rotary Club and Paradise Cruises along the Mandovi river for differently-abled children. A two-man band also played traditional music at Miramar, Calangute, Old Goa and Colva as part of the celebration of World Tourism Day.