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Goa is working to position itself as more than just a tourism destination known for its beaches and nightlife. As it seeks to welcome more visitors, the state is taking measures to ensure that the negative impacts of tourism are mitigated - both on the environment and its people.

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The coastal state of Goa has asked for public views, objections, and suggestions on the draft of the Goa Tourism Promotion and Management Bill, 2024. The bill aims to look at various aspects of tourism in the state, including illegal activities, job creation, and impact on the state’s economy. 

According to Goa tourism minister Rohan Khaunte, the bill has already taken into consideration inputs from the industry stakeholders. 

Tourism Clusters: As part of its tourism development, the state is developing tourism clusters in the state. It currently does not have any. 

In the draft bill read by Skift, Goa tourism ministry said that the number of tourists visiting the state significantly outnumber the residents. Accordingly, it is important “to identify and demarcate areas for targeted tourism development and to ensure the safety and well-being of tourists through appropriate regulation and control over activities, persons, and entities.”

A Sustainability Fee? Recent media reports stated that the state was planning to introduce a 2% ‘tourism development and sustainability’ fee. The state’s tourism minister has clarified that the claim of a sustainability fee is “baseless.” “It is a tax of up to 2%, and it will be limited only to the relevant clusters once they are created,” Khaunte said. 

However, propagation of sustainable tourism practices is a key component of the state’s draft bill. The state is aiming to incentivize adoption of sustainable practices and mitigate the negative impact of tourism on the environment. 

The draft bill contains a separate chapter to focus on measures for sustainable tourism, including the constitution of a board responsible for developing, managing, and enabling the state as a sustainable tourist destination, awareness and capacity building, and carrying capacity assessment. 

India Emerging as Future Growth Engine for Global Tourism: OECD

“Outbound travel from India is emerging as a future growth engine for global tourism,” said a recent report on tourism trends and policies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report said that the rapid expansion of the middle class and scaling up of air connectivity within the country are key factors in this. 

Data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation shows that within the first three months of 2024, nearly 9.4 million passengers from India traveled abroad. This marked a 15% increase from the 8.1 million passengers that traveled internationally last year during the same period. 

A recent report by consulting firm McKinsey and Company said that India is becoming a fast-growing source of outbound tourism, stating that the country is developing “fast-growing pools of first-time tourists.” Indians have also reached a new peak in overseas spending, with travel accounting for $17 billion out of the $31.7 billion that Indians spent overseas in the 2023-24 financial year.

On-Time Performance of Indian Carriers Down Significantly 

The on-time performance of Indian airlines has seen a significant decline across the board between May 2023 and May 2024, according to an analysis of data shared by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Budget airline Akasa Air, which was the most punctual airline in May this year as well as last year, saw its on-time performance at four metro airports – Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai – decline from 92.6% last year to 89.2%. 

IndiGo, which was the flagbearer of on-time performance for several years, slid from the second position last year to the fourth place in May 2024, declining from 90.3% on-time performance to 76.1%. Full-service sister carriers Vistara and Air India also witnessed decline in on-time performance of more than 10%. 

Low-cost airline SpiceJet was the only airline out of seven domestic carriers to witness improvement in this metric, increasing from 60.9% in May 2023 to 64.2% this year.

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann Adopts India’s UPI Payment System

French department store brand Galeries Lafayette has announced the integration of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system at its flagship Haussmann store. 

Vincent Sénéquat, Director of Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann said that as the number of visitors from India increase, the integration of UPI would allow a convenient payment option for Indian customers. “With the opening of our first Indian store in Mumbai in 2025, followed by New Delhi, this initiative becomes even more significant,” Sénéquat added. 

UPI is a technology implemented in India in 2016 and it enables instant and interbank money transfers via mobile applications. Users can link multiple bank accounts to a single app, with each bank account getting a unique virtual identifier to make the payments. 

Earlier this year, UPI payments were also enabled for purchasing tickets to the Eiffel Tower, as part of UPI developer National Payments Corporation of India’s partnership with French fintech player Lyra Network. 

Stotrak Hotels Opens Sangam by Stotrak in Mussoorie

Experiential hotel chain Stotrak Hotels has announced the opening of Sangam by Stotrak in Uttarakhand’s Mussoorie. The 10-key hotel is the chain’s fourth property in the hill station, taking its inventory in Mussoorie to more than 85 rooms. The chain now has 12 hotels in its portfolio. 

Manish Goyal, founder of Stotrak Hotels, told Skift, “Stotrak Hotels has been very consistent when it comes to expansion, as the founding team is a firm believer of stability. The vision has always been to keep a balance between experiential stays together with exploring new and niche destinations.”

The company’s initial plans were to have a strong footprint in the northern state of Uttarakhand. It already has eight properties with over 150 keys in the state. The chain also has luxury portfolio in Rajasthan consisting of more than 120 rooms. “The group now is foraying into Himachal Pradesh with a 4-star resort in the upcoming hill station of Nahan,” Goyal shared.

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Tags: airlines, digital payments, flight delays, global payments, goa tourism, hotels, india, india outbound, india travel, indian airlines, mobile payments, Payment Technology, payments, skift india report, sustainability, sustainable tourism, tourism, tourism development, travel payments, Travel Trends

Photo credit: As part of its tourism development, the state is developing tourism clusters in the state. christie2025 / Pixabay

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