No plan for new casinos in Goa: Tourism Minister

There will not be any proposal for new casinos in Goa, as per the new tourism master plan, said Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar in the legislative assembly

“All stakeholders involved in the tourism industry would be consulted, before finalizing the master plan, which incidentally has been criticized by stakeholders as well as Opposition members,” said the tourism minister in a written reply on a question regarding new casinos.

“The tourism master plan was prepared after various consultative sessions with several concerned stakeholders, obtaining views and comments from the elected representatives, local authorities as well as the general public,” added the minister.

Goa has six offshore casinos and about 10 onshore casinos. The new government has been accused of alleged proximity to the casino lobby, especially after the ruling party failed to shut the casinos despite repeated electoral promises. The casino industry came into being during the time of the erstwhile Congress-led coalition regimes in the period from 2000 to 2012.

The minister further said that the respective coastal village Panchayats would be consulted before implementation of the proposed master plan for overall development of beaches and the nearby villages.

Tourism industry stakeholders have been accusing the ruling government for the fall in tourist footfalls over the last few years, alleging not doing enough to promote quality tourism in the state.