Panaji: Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy on Saturday said that people have already given the title of ‘casino capital’ to Goa. ”People have already given the title of casino capital to Goa. We (the government) need not give it. The public has already declared it,” he said while addressing a press conference.
Reddy was here to announce various tourism promotion initiatives for the coastal state. Union minister Shripad Naik was also present. Replying to a query on whether Goa would be tagged as the ‘casino capital of India’ by the government, he said, ”Public is here (for casinos). They are either here or in Sikkim (both the places where casinos are allowed).” ”If Goa benefits by declaring it as a casino capital, we can certainly do it,” the minister said.
On COVID-19, he said that the pandemic has impacted the tourism sector in the state, which is witnessing a revival as domestic travellers have started going across the country.
”The domestic tourism season is picking up, but there are no apprehensions about the third wave. I appeal to people to abide by all the necessary protocols while visiting various tourism destinations in the country,” he said.
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Reddy said that the state governments are geared up to implement the protocols against COVID-19 as recommended by the Centre. ”We are also keeping a watch on the international developments as far the virus is concerned. We are monitoring the arrival of foreign tourists. I am confident that we will be able to control the third wave and ensure that it does not hit India,” the minister said.
He said that 125 crore people have been vaccinated so far, while 25 crores more vaccines are in stock in different states. ”I am confident that by December end, the production of vaccines will be increased,” he said. Reddy said that in order to raise international footfalls, tourism officers have been appointed in Indian Embassies of 20 different countries, who have been given the task of promoting Indian tourist destinations. The central government is also working to develop 75 tourist destinations on international lines, he said, adding, ”These destinations would be developed as an iconic project.” Talking about Goa, he said, ”In the days to come, cruise tourism will become a major sector which will be taken on a mission mode under the Sagarmala project.” Reddy said that Union tourism and shipping ministries will hold a meeting next week to chalk out an action plan on developing tourism in Goa.