In continuation of its G20 Think Tank Workshop Series, NITI Aayog organised a significant workshop titled “Implementing Goa Roadmap for Tourism” on November 4, 2023. This event, held in collaboration with India Foundation and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, served as a platform for experts and stakeholders to deliberate on the plan for sustainable tourism development in Goa.
The discussions at the workshop revolved around a plethora of issues, opportunities, and challenges that currently confront the sustainable development of the tourism sector in India. One prevailing theme that emerged was the vital role played by local tourism in generating income and uplifting the cultural heritage of the region.
Participants emphasised the importance of local tourism in developing sustainable tourism circuits, thereby fostering economic growth while ensuring environmental conservation.
One of the primary concerns voiced during the workshop was the need to strike a balance between increasing visitor capacity at tourist destinations and the commitment to environmental protection, green tourism practices, and sustainability. This delicate equilibrium was recognized as pivotal in preserving the natural beauty and cultural richness of the region.
The workshop also shed light on critical issues and action points derived from the Goa Roadmap, highlighting the challenges and opportunities brought about by the digital revolution and the growing necessity for environmental stewardship. It concluded with a collective goal to carry forward the spirit of the Goa Roadmap, promoting collective action and shared responsibility in building a tourism sector that can sustainably support both the planet and its people.
The outcome of this workshop, as highlighted in an officially issued statement, will be an essential document that outlines the way forward for implementing the Goa Roadmap for Tourism within the context of India.
The Goa Roadmap itself was finalised during the concluding meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group in Goa on June 21, 2023, culminating in the Goa Declaration. The Goa Roadmap is seen as a pioneering effort to harness tourism as a driving force to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a sentiment supported by the G20 New Delhi Leader’s Declaration (NDLD), which recognised the Goa Roadmap for Tourism and the ‘Travel for LiFE’ program as policy blueprints for leveraging tourism for sustainable socio-economic development.
The workshop was structured around four thematic sessions, with V. Vidyavathi, Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, delivering the address during the plenary session. Suman Bery, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, presided over the workshop and provided insights into the importance of gender-led development in the tourism sector.
He emphasised the contemporary challenges related to the dispersion of tourism and the potential solutions that could arise from collaborative efforts between the private and public sectors.
The thematic sessions explored various topics, including “Green tourism” with a focus on making the tourism sector more sustainable, responsible, and resilient. Another session concentrated on “Tourism micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)” and the role of these enterprises, startups, and the private sector in fostering innovation and dynamism within the tourism sector. “Digitalisation” was another critical theme, discussing the utilisation of digital technologies to enhance competitiveness, inclusion, and sustainability in the tourism sector. The final session emphasised the “Strategic management of tourist destinations,” particularly those with a focus on heritage and religious tourism.
The workshop witnessed the participation of experts from more than twenty government bodies and private institutions, including the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Trade Promotion Council of India, Confederation of Indian Industry, National Council of Applied Economic Research, Indian Hotels Company Limited, Indian Venture & Alternate Capital Association, Indian School of Business, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Small Industries Development Bank of India, United Service Institution of India, Jamia Millia Islamia University, MakeMyTrip, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, and more.