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Selja snubs Goa government’s pro-casino policy

Panaji, March 6 (IANS) Tourism Minister Selja Saturday snubbed the Goa government for supporting casino-oriented tourism, saying ‘we do not necessarily need things which are not in good taste’.

She was replying to a question on the tourism ministry’s take on the Goa government backing casino-oriented tourism.

She spoke to journalists after inaugurating the regional conference of tourism ministers of western states and union territories here.

Selja also said that Goa should decide its own course as far as the nature of tourism the state wanted to pursue.

‘But we want safe and secure tourism… There is so much else we have to offer. We have so much culture and heritage,’ the minister said, adding that it was time that the Goa government puts its best step forward.

Selja’s comments on the casino industry endorses the view put forth by the Travel and Tourist Association of Goa (TTAG), which says the growing number of casinos has tarnished Goa’s tag as a family tourism destination.

‘Goa over the years has built a brand as a leading family tourism destination,’ Ralph de Souza, president of the TTAG said, adding that the advent of casino tourism could dilute Goa’s brand equity.

Goa, which sees nearly 2.4 million tourists annually, has more than a dozen land-based casinos located in five-star hotels and seven off shore casinos that have attracted the ire of civil society groups.

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