Newly-appointed president of SKAL International Goa, Vivek Kerkar said the State needs to focus on upskilling its tourism-related workforce, harmonise road networks and find ways to ease pressure on existing infrastructure to maintain its reputation as one of India’s top tourism destinations.
Kerkar recently took over as president of SKAL International Goa, a global network of travel and tourism industry stakeholders, at The St Regis Resort Goa at Cavelossim in the presence of immediate past president of SKAL International Goa Shekhar Divadkar and Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte.
Khaunte said that Goa is diversifying beyond beaches with sustainable initiatives like homestays, caravan tourism, agro-tourism and spiritual circuits, linking it to women’s empowerment. “These actions create opportunities for women in the local communities to actively participate in and benefit from the tourism industry. Women’s economic empowerment is not just a matter of gender equality; it is an essential step towards sustainable and inclusive tourism,” Khaunte said.
The Tourism Minister also said that the department was in the process of providing training mentorship and access to resources for women entrepreneurs to “ensure that they can establish and grow their homestay business in the tourism sector”.
Kerkar, said that Goa should continue to build on its more recent reputation as the gastronomic capital of the country by promoting its Indo-Portuguese fusion cuisine, ensuring strict hygiene standards, as well as organising more open-air, public festivals promoting food.
Kerkar also said, “Infrastructure poses the most significant challenge as we lack proper roads, footpaths and signage. This deficiency can deter tourists from choosing Goa as their destination.”
Kerkar trained the spotlight on the need to upskill the existing workforce, while underlining the importance of training programmes to equip the human resource with the necessary skills to interact effectively with the diverse cultures.
“Acquiring a skilled workforce is crucial in the growing Goan tourism industry. Efforts are needed to enhance training programmes, fostering better understanding and improved communication skills for diverse interactions,” he said.
Kerkar emphasised the need for Goa to expand in terms of marketing efforts, suggesting exploration of untapped markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe.