Goa minister’s London stay cost nearly Rs.100,000December 15th, 2009 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, Dec 15 (IANS) Goa Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco’s stay at the plush Ritz Carlton hotel in London for a tourism mart has cost the government nearly Rs.1lakh, the state legislative assembly was told Tuesday.
Pacheco was in London in November to participate and promote Goa as a holiday destination during a tourism mart held there. And his stay at the Ritz Carlton cost Rs.94,720 to be precise.
According to documents placed before the state legislative assembly, the tourism department footed the bill for Pacheco’s trip abroad along with two other officials.
The total cost of the trip amounts to more than half a crore.
“The expenses incurred for the tourism mart is Rs.53.90 lakh, i.e. towards providing decor, PR services, supply of brochures etc. is Rs.50.44 lakh and Rs.3.46 lakh towards travel and accommodation of delegates,” Pacheco has said in his written reply.
While the minister stayed at the Ritz Carlton in London, the accompanying officials - tourism director Swapnil Naik and an information assistant Jayesh Kankonkar - stayed in a more modest Premier Inn in rooms costing Rs.46,160 each.
The figures are in stark contrast to the dropping figures of tourist arrivals furnished by the tourism department to the assembly.
“The percentage drop in tourism is 13.38 percent The likely causes of drop in tourism are the terrorist attack in Mumbai on the starred hotels in November 2008 and also global recession,” Pacheco has said.
Goa annually sees a traffic of two million tourists, 4.5 lakh of whom are foreigners.
Earlier, union External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor had come in for criticism for staying in five-star hotels in New Delhi as official accommodation allotted to them were undergoing renovation.
Although they were advised to move out, both of them claimed to have paid their hotel bills themselves.
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