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May 09, 2012

Goa's Music Lovers Back Special Tourism Zones


09 May 2012

Panaji: Musicians and music aficionados in Goa have hit an excited note over the state government's decision to lobby for special tourism zones (STZ) to allow enthusiasts to party till the wee hours.

According to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, his office was lobbying with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to create these STZs in non-populated areas where central sound pollution norms, which ban loud music beyond 10.30 p.m., could be bypassed.

'I honestly think it is a good move. Goa has been losing quality tourists because it does not have as much to offer in terms of parties and events in the outdoor, compared to other destinations like Thailand,' Ajit Pai, resident DJ at one of Goa's top night club Mambos, told IANS.

'Foreign tourists prefer partying in the outdoor, that is why they visit Goa. Otherwise the existing indoor clubs in the countries they come from are a thousand times better than what we have to offer,' Pai said.

After a meeting with Manmohan Singh, Parrikar had said there was a need to work around the current sound pollution norms, which were even 'creating a problem for Catholic weddings' in Goa, that traditionally stretch till late into the night.

'Special tourism zones can be created in areas where there is no population. Relaxation in playing music can be given in these areas so that people are not disturbed,' Parrikar had said.

Another musician, Lester Rodrigues, said the decision would make Goa's party scene, which the state is famous for, even hotter.

'It's really a good idea, as one cannot possibly relax the sound restrictions throughout Goa, taking into consideration the residents and the court order (which puts restrictions on playing loud music). However, getting a special tourist zone with the permission of residents is a good idea,' said Rodrigues who plays for A26, a popular live music band here.

Sean Faia, who runs music solution agency Muzic Matters, said from an entertainment point of view there was a need to do away with existing sound restrictions.

'Tourists from India and across the globe flock to Goa to relax and have fun. With entertainment zones we would be able to hold quality events, be it music, sports, fashion or lifestyle related events,' he said, adding that music festivals across the world start at night and stretch till the wee hours of the morning.

'People love these events and Goa as a destination can provide events like these and much more,' Sean said.

Goa is known as one of the most popular tourism as well as party hotspots in the country. Goa, the place where rave parties first started in the late 1960s, is now home to several acid raves as well as music festivals throughout the year, including the popular Sunburn music festival, held annually at the Candolim beach, 20 km from here.