While experts expressed apprehensions about tourism economy getting hurt following the demonetisation in India, Goa Tourism becomes the first government organisation to adopt 100 pc cashless transactions.
Goa, one of the most-frequented destinations among domestic as well as international travellers has come out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Cashless India’ mission. The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) with its innovative web portal and smartphone application has taken the lead in bringing all tourism businesses under the ambit of cashless transactions. Whether hotel reservations, package tours, cruise rides or any other tourism service, GTDC has introduced systems that have facilitated cashless transactions, both online and offline.
360-degree cashless approach
GTDC has introduced cashless facility for booking of services and products through the web portal and the mobile app available on iOS and android platform. All the GTDC residencies and restaurants have initiated point-of-sale (POS) machines thus enabling a holistic approach to the new cashless system. Work is underway to start pay wallets as discussions with leading pay wallet providers are deemed at the final stage. Even the Santa Monica Jetty is offering payment facilities through credit cards and debit cards.
Goa was perhaps the first state to roll out a new e-commerce portal and mobile app in February this year. It has provided a full-proof platform for e-business and cashless transactions also bringing other tourism stakeholders into the cashless orbit. Official records from the GTDC reveal that cashless transactions worth INR 250,000-300,000 are executed daily for various services provided by the GTDC which is in addition to cashless transactions recorded on GTDC’s e-commerce portal and mobile app.
Nilesh Cabral, Chairman of GTDC said, “Goa Tourism Development Corporation moves ahead of time and we have one more feather to our cap. I am extremely pleased that GTDC introduced cashless transactions several months ago. Today, the world has already logged in to cashless processes and India would have eventually introduced the same. GTDC has succeeded in professionalising the services through cashless systems and we are fully geared to deal with it post December 31, 2016.”
Goa looking to set examples
The hotel industry is reportedly functioning smoothly as well. Apart from the initial mayhem that was expected and neutralised with meticulous collaboration between the government and the private stakeholders of the tourism industry, business seems to be on track in Goa. GTDC through the e-commerce portal has established direct tie ups with more than 160 hotels and also with channel managers such as Staah and Maximojo for tourists to book accommodation using cashless modes of transactions.
Gavin Dias, General Manager (Hotels), GTDC said, “All GTDC residencies are provided with point-of-sale (POS) machines to facilitate cashless payments and most tourists prefer to use this facility. It is encouraging to see tourists opting for cashless transactions.” Dias added that in the months to come GTDC’s cashless systems will be an exemplary one for other departments to emulate. He further added that cashless transactions have already become very popular and an easy way out for both tourists and tourism stakeholders.
Goa witnesses a footfall of more than 5 million tourists annually and the government is eventually looking at bringing in every tourism stakeholder, whether tourist taxis, souvenir shops, guest houses or restaurants under cashless business as soon as possible.