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Protest against STZs gaining momentum

Special Correspondent


FOSAM and CFRT

are leading the

struggle in Goa


PANAJI: After successful agitation against special economic zones, now small and medium hotels in Goa have joined hands with local stakeholders of tourism to protest against the moves to have special tourism zones (STZs) in the State.

The Federation of Small and Medium Hotels, Guesthouses in Goa (FOSAM) and the Centre for Responsible Tourism (CFRT) are leading the struggle.

They released a White Paper on responsible tourism last week. It speaks of diverse opportunities for sustainable tourism and developing linkages within the State to make agro-allied activities sustainable.

It has outlined some demands such as quality infrastructure development at village level, support for local entrepreneurship and end to red-tape in the licensing process and support for environmentally sustainable rural tourism, among others.

Dissatisfied by the “failure” of the State Government to have a comprehensive tourism policy, the two organisations, which have the support of the Goa Church, have prepared a tourism policy which speaks of sustainable tourism with benefits to the local people, and submitted it to the State Government.

An agitated Serafino Cota, president of the twin organisations, said here on Saturday: “We oppose the concept of STZs because for small and medium hotels and guesthouses which are run by the local people on the coastline of the State, they will spell doom.”

He accused the Centre of pushing the idea of STZs with the objective of encouraging star hotels in coastal belt being demarcated as STZs. With concern over precious land taken over at throw-away prices by the State industrial body and doles to private promoters of SEZs being fresh in memory, the tourism organisations are vocal about their concern over the threat to the coastal land.

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