Crocodile controversy created by rivals: Goa tourism industry

Panaji, July 19 (IANS) A Goa tourism organisation on Sunday blamed a section of the media of “blowing out of proportion” the presence of a crocodile on a popular beach in the state, and claimed the episode could be the handiwork of a rival tourism destination.

“A rival destination is attempting to create an issue with regards to the safety of Goa beaches. The national media seems to have blown the story out of proportion. They (media) ought to have heard the other side of the story before attempting to put fear in the tourists,” said Francisco Braganza, president of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).

TTAG is one of the oldest associations of the tourism industry in Goa.

On July 16, the Goa forest department confirmed the sighting of a fully grown crocodile at Morjim beach, 30 km from Panaji and one of the most popular beaches in the state, especially with Russians.

The rare appearance of the crocodile caused quite a stir on social media as well as among tourism industry stakeholders here, considering that Goa is known for beach tourism that attracts nearly three million visitors to its shores annually.

Crocodiles are commonly found in Goa’s hinterlands in marshy rivers, but there have been rare instances of the aquatic reptiles being sighted on the state’s beaches.

Braganza said the presence of the reptile was “accidental” as the crocodile must have lost way and found itself on the beach.

“Crocodiles live in marshy lands in the interiors. During monsoons, river water close to the sea loses salinity. It is possible the crocodile lost its way through the river and got closer to the beach,” Braganza said.

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