FOSAM releases white paper on small-scale tourism contribution

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Panaji, Aug 23 (UNI) A white paper on the economic contributions of small-scale tourism enterprises has been released by the newly launched Federation of Small and Medium Hotels and Guest houses of Goa (FOSAM) along with the Centre for Responsible Tourism.

Speaking to mediapersons here today FOSAM President Serafino Cota said the report coinciding with the monsoon session of Legislative assembly, outlines the Federation demands for quality infrastructure at the village level, support for local entrepreneurship, an end to red-tapism in the licensing process and environmentally sustainable rural tourism, among other issues.

He said a systematic study was conducted on behalf of FOSAM in villages and towns along the coastal belt. The state-wide study found that nearly all of the sample SMEs were owned by Goans. Although 95 per cent of the tourist accommodation sector is small and medium hotels and guest houses, they remained in the shadow of the five star hotels in tourism development policies.

Mr Cota said, ''FOSAM protests the double standard of how tourism operates in Goa, but we are asking to take us into confidence as partners in development.'' He said, the white paper comes as a direct challenge to recent moves by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India towards special tourism zones (STZs) along the same lines as SEZs and tourism cluster which would be a mega-project over an area of four to 20 lakh square meters consisting of large hotels, restaurants, theme parks, casinos, golf courses, indoor games and convention centres. The research findings raise questions about the need for additional tourist accommodation when SMEs in Goa struggle to maintain viable occupancy rates even during the peak tourist season.

The Executive Secretary of the Council for Social Justice and Peace Fr Maverick Ferandes said if the Government does not take the small and medium enterprises seriously then it will lose an opportunity to champion the cause of Goa's Development.

FOSAM's white paper is also relevant in the context of the Governor's call for an ethical code of tourism and calls for the preservation of Goan hospitality and culture, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

The research has integrated principles of economic environmental sustainability to redefine tourism within a broad framework of social responsibility.

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