Forest policy to strengthen Goa’s eco-tourism

Panaji: Goa government`s forest policy aims to boost eco-tourism initiatives in the state to meet the requirements of tourists.

The draft policy, which is kept in public domain inviting suggestions, has said that existing eco-tourism initiatives at Bondla (a wildlife sanctuary), Collem (National park) and Hathipal (wildlife sanctuary) should be further strengthened.

Goa being a global tourist destination, has greater potential to improve the eco-tourism in the state, said the policy document.

"The initiative has to be taken within the framework of sound eco-system management on one hand and offering good employment opportunities for the poor communities on the other," it adds.

The policy said avenues should be made to give livelihood for `local poor`.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Shashi Kumar said the department does not intend to built any permanent structure within the forest.

"The eco tourism is to give knowledge about forest, environment and wildlife without any degradation of forest and habitat and to show cause to the people coming from outside that Goa has something more to provide them Sun, Sand and Sea," he said.

The policy has said that community based eco tourism involving locals by imparting suitable training in hospitality, bird watching, botanisation and nature guides and others should be promoted with an aim to develop confidence and skills amongst the rural people to take up such initiatives in their own land holdings.

PTI

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