Hospitality industry to shoulder tourism ‘burden’

 Taking responsibility for the overload on State’s existing infrastructure and inability to cope with growing issues concerning tourism, stakeholders from the hospitality industry have taken on the challenges of introducing green practices, which they claim will go a long way in reducing garbage and conserving energy and water.

 This was disclosed at a conference on ‘Riding the next wave of Green Practices in tourism and industry,’ held in the capital city Saturday.

The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, President, Francisco Braganza said, “The time has come when hotels need to set up poultry, dairy and piggery farms so as to contain food waste generated at the source itself, thereby reducing pressure on existing waste disposal sites.”

Braganza said that a couple of hotels in North Goa are taking up this initiative in addition to introducing measures to conserve energy and water.

The industry spelt out suggestions for water harvesting, harnessing solar energy, plastic free campaigns and re-cycling of waste within hotels to reduce the load on the outside sources.

Braganza said that even as plans are on to have hotels above three star and those with 100 rooms or more in the red category for adherence to pollution norms, he felt that in Goa this segment has already started taking initiatives to control pollution and were almost at par on this issue with manufacturing industries. He sought that hotels taking up green initiatives should also be given incentives to pursue these initiatives.

Former tourism secretary Mathew Samuels said, “Tourists cannot be taken for granted as increasing problems of poor garbage management and weak sewerage disposal systems will take their toll on tourism. He said, “This is already indicative from the fact that Goa is getting lower tourist arrivals.”

During the discussion Samuels also impressed on the need for Zero tolerance for litter through stringent legislation and fines.

Director of Tourism, Nikhil Desai who said that the ministry would not tolerate lower segment tourists arriving in Goa in buses and cooking and defecating along roadsides.

Desai was in tandem with the hospitality industry on green practices in tourism and reiterated that the new Mater Plan and Tourism policy would set the benchmark for introduction of environment friendly infrastructure for the next 50 years.

Ralph D’Souza, former chairman of CII and chairman of D’Souza Group said that Goa tourism should move towards eco-friendly tourism avenues such as village tourism, river tourism, hinterland tourism and architectural tourism.

The Commissioner of the Corporation of the City of Panaji Sanjit Rodrigues also made a presentation on how Panjim was going green through its systematic waste management. He appealed to the industry as a whole to support the initiatives introduced and to be sensitive to the need of the hour to control generation of tonnes of garbage which was posing a huge problem for not only Panjim but entire Goa. [H]