Published on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020
In just two and half months after Goa reopened its borders for visitors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic for renewing its diminishing tourism industry, the State witnessed visitors who took advantage of this opportunity to engage in unlawful activities, acts that led to further blemish the image of Brand Goa.
From rave parties, to gambling to counterfeit notes, these crimes rattled Goa, but stakeholders in the tourism industry were not surprised with such happenings.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa’s (TTAG) past president Savio Messias said, “Crimes, cheating, touting, prostitution, drugs all come along with the development of tourism. It is the duty of the government to regulate and control crime as these issues bring a bad name to Goa. These were some issues discussed during the presentation of white paper to the government.”
With Goa moving closer to the next season, tourism stakeholders are at ease with the negative publicity surfacing from these disturbing incidents. Instead, stakeholders are happy that the police are ensuring zero tolerance to nay offense in the State.
“The police department has to be appreciated because of whom these cases have come to light. The crackdown sends a clear message to all that no attitude of ‘anything is chalta’ in Goa is acceptable. It has put deterrence to that,” said TTAG president Nilesh Shah.
When asked about the likelihood of crimes due to unrestricted movement of people, Shah said, “Not really. We live a democracy. COVID-19 is here to stay until a vaccine is found,” he said.
All Goa Hotel & Restaurant Association president Gaurish Dhond said that policing needs to be strict, “How can the Goa government or hotel owners control or keep a watch on the tourist and their indoor activities? We need to be cautious while tourists are allowed freely in Goa, non corrupt policing needs to be strict. Government should promote domestic travelers and FIT’s to bring back our economy in tourism at the earliest.”
Hence, in order to revive the deteriorating image of Goa as a premier tourist destination, TTAG, then headed by Messias, had suggested few measures to strengthen and modernize Goa’s tourism identity on all platforms, in a comprehensive white paper to Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar.