Goa to crack down on errant tourists, might ban night swimming

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Panaji, June 15 (IANS) In what seems to be a crackdown on errant tourists, Goa’s Tourism Department on Friday said it was working on a ban on swimming in the sea from dusk to dawn, limit tourism activity to a limited area on a beach and even put together punitive measures for tourists violating law.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar and industry stakeholders after a spate of incidents involving tourists, including a gangrape and mass drownings, forced the government to think of ways and means to limit violations along the state’s coastal belt, which is popular with tourists.

“The Tourism Department is exploring possibilities of extending beach patrolling between dusk and dawn in order to prevent untoward mishaps and unwarranted activities which is affecting Goa’s image as a safe tourism destination,” Ajgaonkar said after the meeting.

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He also said that measures have to be put in place through law enforcement, surveillance, awareness drives and others to step up safety and security measures for tourists visiting Goa.

Ahead of the new season, tourism authorities will also set up signboards at important beaches and tourist spots cautioning tourists to adhere to all safety instructions, especially on the beaches.

“The Tourism Department will move amendments to the Tourist Trade Act in the next Assembly session to impose penalties and fines to serve as deterrents against violators and violations,” Ajgaonkar said, adding that consumption of alcohol on the beach and driving on the beach should be deemed as offences.

The minister also said that a private lifeguard agency, appointed by the ministry, should step up beach and water patrolling round the clock and has also offered support in terms of additional equipment, vehicles required to monitor the beaches and prevent tourists from venturing into the waters between sunset and sunrise.

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“A proposal was also mooted to set up village wise committees which includes representatives of tourism stakeholders, police and the Tourism Department which would be responsible for tourism activities within a specific area on the beach,” the Tourism Ministry said in a statement issued here.

–IANS

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