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February 25, 2010


Few low budget visitors create problems, feels tourism department


http://www.navhindtimes.in/news/goa-news/9110-few-low-budget-visitors-create-problems-feels-tourism-department

25 February 2010

Panaji:

The tourism sector feels that stray incidents such as those that occurred in North Goa recently wherein a couple of Russians attacked locals in different cases and minor scuffles, would continue to take place and there was very little the industry or the government authorities could do to totally prevent them, even as they said that the number could be curtailed by taking some proactive measures.

The officials in the tourism department informed ‘The Navhind Times’ that most of the Russian tourists are decent people even as they said that there was every possibility of a few “disorderly” elements coming to the state by charter flights. They also said that a number of minor cases involving “disorderly” Russian tourists go unreported because of various reasons.

Most of the top class Russians coming to Goa prefer to stay in five star hotels, mostly located in South Goa, while the middle level choose to stay in three star hotels mostly located in Calangute, Candolim, Baga belt. But those coming on cheaper packages stay in hotels located further to the North of Baga and most of the problems have been recorded in these areas.

The tourism officials feel that such incidents could be prevented in future by maintaining records of all the trouble makers and monitoring them. They further said that those involved in criminal cases could be denied visas in future. Such incidents happen all over the world but the local authorities must maintain vigil and prevent their occurrence by better policing, they added.

The director of Tourism, Mr Swapnil Naik said that in view of the attacks on foreign tourists in the state by locals or by people from other parts of the country the government had initiated moves to educate the foreign tourists about the local rules and a booklet of do’s and don’ts was being prepared to be circulated among the tourists, especially coming by charter flights.

He said that the recent incidents of Russian tourists attacking locals were as unfortunate as the ones in which the Russian tourists were targeted. He said that in view of the incidents the government would initiate some measures to maintain harmony among the tourists and the locals.

According to the sources in the tourism sector attractive packages offered by the Goan tourism industry have been latched on by many Russian people, who have arrived in very large numbers compared to last year. “Among the large number of Russian tourists are some elements who could be trouble makers and whose woes are compounded by they being unaware of the local rules and lack of knowledge of English, the language widely used to communicate,” said sources in the tourism sector.

A senior official in the tourism industry said that the local authorities should adopt the system of recording the names of the trouble makers, their passport numbers and nature of crime committed by them and feed the same in the systems at the immigration centre, which in turn could be used to either deny such people the visa when they apply next time or monitor their activity when they arrive in the state in future.
He also said that it was necessary to report all incidents including minor ones of clashes, street-fight, etc involving foreigners, to prevent criminal activities in future, as reporting would help the local police and other officials to keep an eye on them.

Meanwhile, concerned over the sagging image of Goa in view of large scale seizure of drugs and rounding up of sex workers, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has asked the government to create more entertainment and other facilities so that tourists could pass their time while visiting Goa.

In a memorandum submitted to the government, the GCCI has said that tourism-related activities should be checked and it has also requested the government to improve the existing infrastructure and also provide new infrastructure for the promotion of tourism-related activities in the state, said sources in GCCI.