In the past two decades, as the world has become ever more globalised and the international middle class has gotten richer, casino tourism has become increasingly popular. Casino tourism is a form of high-end tourism whereby people travel far and wide to visit casinos all over the world.
PANAJI: In what is becoming a trend among tourists, yet another individual drove a car onto a beach, this time onto the Morjim beach. With images of the vehicle being circulated on social media, the tourism department directed Pernem police to file an FIR against the unidentified individuals. According to deputy director for tourism Dhiraj Vagle, the incident occurred on Thursday noon. The vehicle, a Toyota Innova Crysta, appears stuck in the sand at Morjim. Photographs of the Goa registered car, which is close to the high tide line, also showed three individuals. Morjim is a known Olive Ridley turtle nesting site and the government has banned all forms of activity that can disturb the turtles. The tourism department has also declared driving on Goa’s beaches as a nuisance as such activities can damage the tourism potential of Goa’s beaches. Incidents where tourists violate rules and drive in a reckless manner have become common in Goa. “One unauthorised vehicle bearing registration no. GA 03 Z 8474 was found to be recklessly and illegally driving at Morjim beach stretch,” said Vagle. He asked the police to file an FIR against the driver and vehicle owner under Section 188 of the IPC. Along with criminal proceedings, the guilty will also have to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 extendible up to Rs 50,000.
PANAJI: In what is becoming a trend among tourists, yet another individual drove a car onto a beach, this time onto the Morjim beach. With images of the vehicle being circulated on social media, the tourism department directed the Pernem Police Station to file an FIR against the unidentified individuals. According to deputy director for Tourism Dhiraj Vagle, the incident occurred on Thursday noon time. The vehicle, a Toyota Innova Crysta, appears stuck in the sand at Morjim. Photographs of the car, which has Goa registration, showed three individuals besides the car which is close to the high tide line. Morjim is a known Olive Ridley turtle nesting site and the government has banned all forms of activity that can disturb the turtles. The tourism department has also declared driving on Goa's beaches as a nuisance as such activities can damage the tourism potential of Goa’s beaches. Incidents where tourists violate rules and drive in a reckless manner have become common in Goa. “One unauthorized vehicle bearing registration No GA 03 Z 8474 was found to be recklessly and illegally driving at Morjim beach stretch,” said Vagle. Vagle asked the police to file an FIR against the driver and owner of the vehicle under section 188 of IPC. Along with criminal proceedings, the guilty will also have to pay a fine of Rs 5000 extendible up to Rs 50000. Under the Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, the tourism department has prohibited several activities including cooking of food in open spaces, begging, driving on beaches, drinking in public, massages, unauthorized hawkers and selling of cruise tickets. In this case, the owner of the car is liable for fines to the tune of Rs 5000 extendible upto Rs 50000. Goa has witnessed several instances of tourists taking their personal vehicles and rented vehicles for a drive on the beach, often even driving into the water. In the past, several vehicles got bogged down in the sand and were even partially submerged in water.
PANAJI: In an effort to promote hinterland tourism, the government intends to start a spiritual circuit in Goa, offering tourists a peek into remote temples in Ponda, Canacona and Sattari. Making this announcement, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said that a homestay policy could be formulated linking the remote villages with the religious shrines that are part of the spiritual circuit. Khaunte, speaking at an awareness programme for waste management, said that Tambdi Surla and the Shri Mallikarjuna temple remain relatively unknown to tourists. “Goa used to be called the Kashi of the south, but today we have become so westernised that we can recognise the music playing at 1am and 2am but nobody knows about the 7pm aarti,” Khaunte said. He said that a homestay policy is already being drafted and will be released in the coming two months. “Through this policy...people who have an extra room, an extra floor or home, can give it to the foreign or an Indian tourist so they will come to learn our culture. This will benefit the rural economy,” Khaunte said. “Tourists go to Old Goa, Shantadurga and Mangueshi and that is the only Goa they see. From the Portuguese period, why did more temples come up in Ponda. The importance of the temple at Tambdi Surla and Saptakoteshwar...nobody knows this,” he added. The tourism minister also stressed on community living in rural parts of Goa. He said that Goans need to look with a long term vision for their future.
Panaji: In an effort to promote hinterland tourism, the government intends to start a spiritual circuit in Goa, offering tourists a peek into remote temples in Ponda, Canacona and Sattari. Making this announcement, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said that a homestay policy could be formulated linking the remote villages with the religious shrines that are part of the spiritual circuit.Khaunte, speaking at an awareness programme for waste management, said that Tambdi Surla and the Shri Mallikarjuna temple remain relatively unknown to tourists.“Goa used to be called the Kashi of the south, but today we have become so westernised that we can recognise the music playing at 1am and 2am but nobody knows about the 7pm aarti,” Khaunte said. He said that a homestay policy is already being drafted and will be released in the coming two months.“Through this policy...people who have an extra room, an extra floor or home, can give it to the foreign or an Indian tourist so they will come to learn our culture. This will benefit the rural economy,” Khaunte said.“Tourists go to Old Goa, Shantadurga and Mangueshi and that is the only Goa they see. From the Portuguese period, why did more temples come up in Ponda. The importance of the temple at Tambdi Surla and Saptakoteshwar...nobody knows this,” he added.The tourism minister also stressed on community living in rural parts of Goa. He said that Goans need to look with a long term vision for their future.
PANAJI: The state tourism department will spend around Rs 3 crore to participate in travel marts within the country. To attract domestic tourists from eight states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Telangana, Gujarat, and Kerala — the tourism department has decided to participate in domestic marts from January to April. A senior official said that the state will attend marts in Kochi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Jaipur, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Goa, to build a strong audience community and to aggressively promote and market ‘Brand Goa’ in domestic markets and enhance its visibility and presence. During these events, Goa tourism plans to showcase all facets of the state. “Goa, whose primary industry is tourism, is famous for its beautiful beaches, locales, and golden shores. Goa is the right place for tourists to experience unlimited fun as the state flaunts diverse tourist attractions such as beaches, adventure tourism activities, religious places, spice plantations, forts, wildlife, bird sanctuaries, Unesco world heritage sites, etc. The state is well-known for its beaches and several parties, events, and festivals that often draw crowds from India and abroad,” a senior official said. Goa tourism recently revised its strategy towards a more responsible form of tourism, in line with its Tourism Master Plan and Policy, 2020. TOI had reported that the state tourism department will spend over Rs 3 crore to participate in international travel marts in Madrid, Lisbon, Berlin, and Dubai next year. TOI had also reported that the state tourism department is set to travel to Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, and Vienna early next year as it strives to attract “more responsible tourists” to Goa. At a cost of Rs 1.7 crore, the government will participate in roadshows in major European cities. A senior department official had said that the primary objective of these roadshows — which will take place in January and February — is for the state to compete in the international market and promote Goa (and India) as a safe and world-class destination.
Canacona: Goa Forest Development Corporation (GFDC) chairman and Poriem MLA Deviya Rane has said that GFDC has decided to promote hinterland eco-tourism at Canacona’s Chapoli dam.After her visit along with speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar, Rane said the location has a huge potential to attract tourists looking for peace in the midst of greenery. Officials who accompanied her were additional chief conservator of forests Santosh Kumar, Shristhal sarpanch and panchayat members as well as some Canacona councillors.Rane said that she, along with GFDC officials and others, conducted a thorough inspection of the area. “The land which is under GFDC will be developed as part of our efforts to promote hinterland eco-tourism. This will develop Canacona taluka, which will provide some employment opportunities for the villagers.” Canacona is a picturesque taluka, she said, which is surrounded by Western Ghats on one side and the sea on the other side. “I have assured Tawadkar that GFDC will work in collaboration with Shristhal panchayat to develop the taluka,” she said.
Calangute: The tourist season is set to peak the coming weeks, with thousands of tourists expected in popular locations like Calangute. However, night-time illumination needs attention as high-mast lamps and streetlights in areas belonging to the tourism department continue to remain non-functional. This includes the approach road to Calangute beach from Baga circle to the promenade and the sprawling Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) pay-parking facility near Baga beach. Most of these areas, including a fishing jetty alongside the Baga river, belong to the department. Large parts are the cover of darkness after sunset as streetlights have not been repaired, tourism stakeholders and fishermen said. A restaurant owner operating on the road from the bridge to Baga beach alongside the GTDC pay-parking facility urged authorities to look into the issue on priority. “The tourism department’s illumination is non-functional. The only visible night light comes from my restaurant. After we shut the restaurant, the whole area plunges into darkness. A lot of robberies and fights take place as this area. The tourism department should do something about this,” Suresh Gawas, the restaurant owner, said. “Our fishermen are conducting many activities here. But there is no illumination. We request the government to install some streetlights so that people are not inconvenienced,” a local fisherman at the Baga jetty, said.When contacted, Calangute sarpanch Joseph Sequeira said they had approached GTDC over the issue, but were informed that it is the electricity department’s responsiblity to maintain the illumination. He also said that when the panchayat approached the electricity department, officials said that the government notification handing over maintenance of streetlights to them has not yet been issued, because of which they are unable to undertake repairs.
Panaji: As preparations are on for the Purple Fest to be held at Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), Panaji, from January 6-8, the organisers have announced that the last date for registration closes on December 20. For registrations, one can visit https://scpwd.goa.gov.in/. All Goans are exempted from registration fees, their statement saidOrganised jointly by State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Goa, in collaboration with the directorate of social welfare and ESG, the event aims to demonstrate how people can come together to support and make everyone in the society feel included. It will feature live performances, exhibitions, sporting activities, immersive experience zones, and an innovation mela. It will also include various competitions, accessible movie screenings, a mega car rally and discussions focusing on topics like inclusive education, employment, tourism, and independent living.The event aims to remove the barriers that make PwDs disabled such as discrimination, stigma and stereotyping.
Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte held a review meeting with the water resources department (WRD) to track the progress being made to lay a new raw water pipeline from Amthane to the 20MLD water tank at Porvorim.WRD minister Subhash Shirodkar said the tender for the new pipeline infrastructure is nearly ready, with a deadline for completion and commissioning by November 2023.“As per the plan, a 6.4-km pipeline has to be laid to bring raw water from Amthane to Porvorim. We held a meeting to review where the file is, and I am happy to say that it is nearing the tender process,” said Khaunte.Khaunte, who is the MLA for Porvorim, said that just over Rs 100 crore will be spent to improve the water supply for Porvorim and neighbouring villages. “If this happens, next year Porvorim will not have any water problems when Tillari is closed for maintenance.”The new raw water pipeline will bring water from Amthane to supplement any shortage in supply that Porvorim faces from October to December, when the Tillari dam and canals are closed for maintenance. The water will also help meet Porvorim’s growing requirements, said Khaunte.Right now, certain parts of Porvorim suffer from an acute water crisis due to the halt in water supply from the Tillari dam. The 20MLD overhead water tank constructed at Porvorim depends on Tillari for supply. WRD is pumping water from Assanora water treatment plant to cater to Porvorim, but supply is not sufficient.
Panaji: Aside from discussions on the advances in ayurveda, experts and researchers will formulate policies for the development and propagation of ayurveda, including the use of alternative medicine for animal welfare, said the organisers.The deliberations will be held at the 9th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo which will be attended by 5,000 delegates from India and 60 other countries. The four-day event will also see over 200 industry players showcase their contribution to alternative medicine.“This provides a platform for future development of policies for the propagation of ayurveda for the world,” said secretary general of the World Ayurveda Congress and professor at the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) Anup Thakar. “The best academicians, delegates, ayurveda practitioners and experts will debate during plenary sessions. The demand for ayurveda has increased manifold across the world.”The event aims to prepare a roadmap to promote ayurveda as a reliable, scientific and alternative healthcare system. “Goa has a lot of potential for ayurveda. The way Kerala has used branding and promotion, Goa has a big opportunity to make ayurveda a strong point for wellness tourism and boost its economy,” said Thakar.Director general at the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) Rabinarayan Acharya said that for the first time, a dedicated two-day conclave on veterinary ayurveda will be held on the sidelines of the expo where scientists and professors will share scientific research in the field of animal healthcare.Deputy director of the Ayush export council Ashutosh Shrivastava said that in order to increase export of Ayush and alternative medicines, 50 buyers from foreign nations along with regulators from other nations have been invited for the conference. “We will get them connected with Indian exporters and manufacturers. There will foreign drug regulators who will bring in information about their practices so that India can see how to meet their standards,” said Shrivastava.
Panaji: The very first management plans, as required under the Union environment ministry’s norms, for five of Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries and one national park are in their final stages of preparation. Once approved, the plans will be in force for 10 years. Each plan will lay a blueprint for the protected areas’ wildlife habitat management, soil and moisture conservation, protection of sanctuary area, eco-development and eco-tourism, and biodiversity enrichment plantation.“There is already a management plan in place for the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao. The management plan for Bondla is nearly ready and will be submitted for approval soon. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary plan is in the last stages of preparation. The Mhadei and the Netravali wildlife sanctuary management plans are set to be completed soon and the plan for Mollem national park and wildlife sanctuary is in advanced stages of preparation,” said the chief conservator of forests for Goa, Saurabh Kumar.The state forest department had engaged local experts who have prepared the plans with inputs from the deputy conservator of forests from each of the areas concerned. While the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary plan has been prepared by Nandkumar Sawant, the management plans for Cotigao and Netravali wildlife sanctuaries have been prepared by Manoj Borkar. Sawant and Borkar are both senior academicians.Principal investigator at Goa University, Nitin Sawant, is preparing the management plan for Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, while Sujeet Kumar Dongre of the centre for environmental education is drawing the plans for the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park at Mollem.“The management plans will cover all features of each sanctuary area like its topography, humidity, rainfall patterns, soil, flora and fauna while recording endemic and flagship species present there. The sources of water will also be detailed. Based on this, we will be able to plan better where fruit-bearing trees or palatable grasses need to be planted, where to create artificial waterholes, and what soil and moisture conservation measures are needed,” said Kumar.Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries were notified in the late 1990s but did not have management plans until now as required under central government norms.“Having a management plan will also help in seeking funds from the Centre for various projects. The plans will even guide us in aspects such as carrying capacity for eco-tourism and how to involve locals in eco-tourism projects. Extensive and intensive groundwork has been carried out by the experts to prepare the management plans with our deputy conservator of forests,” said Kumar.Though the management plans will be in force for 10 years from the time each is approved, a review every 3-4 years is important, he said, “for rearrangement of descriptions and prescription of different work components, deletion of unnecessary items and addition of different activities on the basis of outcomes”.
Panaji: Goa assembly speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Tuesday said that President Droupadi Murmu will not attend the tribal festival Lokotsav being held from December 7 to 11 at Amone, Poinguinim.Last month, the speaker had said that the President had accepted his invitation to attend the tribal festival and is likely to attend the same on December 9.“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the state and two VVIPs cannot come to Goa at the same time. Modi is attending a government function. The President had accepted our invitation, but now she will not come,” Tawadkar said.Organised by Adarsh Yuva Sangh, the Lokotsav is an annual event showcasing folk tradition and culture of the tribal community. This is the event’s 22nd edition.“The objective of Lokotsav is to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of the tribal community,” the Canacona MLA had said. “Goa’s promotion as a tourist destination all these years has been with a focus on beach tourism, while Goa’s village culture has been largely ignored.”
Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has welcomed the action taken by the Calangute panchayat, saying “cleansing up of illegalities” has begun with the help of a civic body.Khaunte said that such action would help the state to improve the image further and attract “good tourists”.“Appreciate the strong action by Calangute panchayat with the support of the CM against dance bars. Direct involvement of panchayat and the local community can help eradicate such infamous menaces that tarnish the image of Goa tourism,” he said on Tuesday.He said the tourism department has always said that the “cleansing” can be achieved only with the support of other departments such as home, panchayats, etc. Hence, it is to be appreciated that some panchayats are coming forward to take the Goa Tourism objective forward, he said. “If all the related departments play their role efficiently, it will bring a big change,”he said.Describing it as a good beginning, he said that the CM has also issued directions to the police and added that things are moving in the right direction. tnn
Calangute: Calangute panchayat on Monday sealed two premises at Khobrawado, alleged to be dance bars. Calangute sarpanch Joseph Sequeira said the premises were sealed as unsavoury activities going on there. “We don’t want these sorts of businesses in Calangute and we will see that they don’t come here in the future too. It's a big problem for us. That's why we all came for an inspection and sealed the premises,” Sequeira said. The two ‘dance bars’ were sealed in the presence of Calangute police.Locals said tourists were being lured to the nightspots and beaten up and looted, and that this had been going on for years. “Tourists are lured here by pimps and touts who promise them women. They are then taken inside and looted or beaten up if they resist. If they don’t cough up the money, their phones and gold ornaments are snatched,” a local said.Following the Monday night raids, Sequeira urged Calangute locals to help stop illegal activities. “I want to appeal to people that in case they've given any places on rent for these things, they should take back the place and start a good business,” he said.Earlier on Monday, panchayat members, along with Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, had met chief minister Pramod Sawant and urged him to crackdown on the various illegal activities going on in the tourism hub. “The chief minister called the SP and asked him to round up all the touts,” Sequeira said.
PANAJI: Union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik appealed to scientists to focus on organic farming and agricultural scientists to give maximum emphasis on not allowing soil texture to deteriorate. He was speaking at the World Soil Day event at ICAR-Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute on Monday. “Designing crop patterns according to the ‘agro climatic zone’ is essential as is encouraging intercropping. These steps need to be taken effectively,” he said. Himanshu Pathak, secretary, department of agriculture research and education and director general ICAR, joined the programme virtually and highlighted the soil health card schemes and ‘neem’ coated urea to increase fertiliser use efficiency. Parveen Kumar, director, ICAR-CCARI stressed on maintaining good soil health to get healthy food. More than 100 farmers joined physically and 6,000 scientists, technical staff of ICAR joined the programme virtually across the nation. On this occasion, soil health cards were also distributed to 100 farmers. Suresh Kumar Chaudhari, deputy director general (Natural Resource Management), ICAR, New Delhi, stressed on bringing students and stakeholders who are not directly related to research under the Soil Day programme to create awareness. World Soil Day is held annually on December 5 as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.
PANAJI: Just a few days after a Russian woman was raped by two Nepali men, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte put out a cryptic statement calling on Goa police to ensure the safety of tourists. The minister, who was in Mumbai, did not refer to any specific incident and chose not to bring up the rape committed by the men who were employed at a hotel. “Tourist safety is a joint effort and the tourism department is confident that Goa police will ensure the safety of our guests by taking stringent action against unlawful activities that tarnish the image of Goa tourism,” he said. While the two men who allegedly committed the crime have been arrested, Goa Police has also been cracking down on violations of sound pollution norms, following an order of the high court. Personnel from the Pernem police station have registered a case under environment protection act against the owner and manager of a beach resort at Morjim for breaching the noise pollution limits. The organisers ofthe party have also been booked. Until the court order, the official machinery, especially the police, were alleged to have been ignoring complaints from local residents of noise pollution beyond 10pm. (The victim's identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)
Panaji: Just a few days after a Russian woman was raped by two Nepali men, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte put out a cryptic statement calling on Goa police to ensure the safety of tourists. The minister, who was in Mumbai, did not refer to any specific incident and chose not to bring up the rape committed by the men who were employed at a hotel.“Tourist safety is a joint effort and the tourism department is confident that Goa police will ensure the safety of our guests by taking stringent action against unlawful activities that tarnish the image of Goa tourism,” he said.While the two men who allegedly committed the crime have been arrested, Goa Police has also been cracking down on violations of sound pollution norms, following an order of the high court. Personnel from the Pernem police station have registered a case under environment protection act against the owner and manager of a beach resort at Morjim for breaching the noise pollution limits. The organisers ofthe party have also been booked. Until the court order, the official machinery, especially the police, were alleged to have been ignoring complaints from local residents of noise pollution beyond 10pm.
PANAJI: Just a few days after a Russian woman was raped by two Nepali men, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte put out a cryptic statement calling on Goa Police to ensure the safety of tourists. Khaunte, who was in Mumbai, did not refer to any specific incident and chose not to bring up the rape committed by the men who were employed at a hotel. “Tourist safety is a joint effort and the tourism department is confident that Goa Police will ensure the safety of our guests by taking stringent action against unlawful activities that tarnish the image of Goa tourism,” said Khaunte. While Goa Police has arrested the two men who allegedly committed the crime, Goa Police has also been cracking down on violations of sound pollution norms. Personnel from the Pernem police station registered a case under environment protection act against the owner and manager of a beach resort at Morjim for breaching the noise pollution limits. The organisers of the party have also been booked. December marks the peak tourist season in Goa and Khaunte had recently asked stakeholders from the tourism industry to bring out the “best of our famous Goan hospitality” and to also ensure a safe, clean and joyful stay for tourists.
Calangute: Beach shack owners in the Calangute-Candolim tourism hub have urged the tourism department to allow them to put tables in place of beach beds in the permitted area in front of the shacks. Beach shacks are allowed to put 10 deck beds in front of the shacks while tables are only allowed inside the shacks. Following large-scale violations the tourism department had recently launched a drive to confiscate tables and extra beds which were kept on the beach.Talking to TOI, Shack owners welfare society (SOWS) general secretary John Lobo said there are no takers for the beach beds after sunset, so they have asked the tourism department to allow tables and chairs in the same area. Shack owners point out that beach beds were largely popular with foreign charter tourists who would lounge on them during the day to acquire a tan. But with charter tourist arrivals down and visitors to the beach being largely domestic tourists there are no takers for the beach beds. “Domestic tourists don’t like to come out in the sun,” shack owners said.However domestic tourists make a beeline to the beach after sunset and request for tables on the beach. To cater to these requests many shack owners put tables sometimes close to the water. “The tourism department should not allow tables close to the water. They should only be allowed in the area meant for deck beds in front of the shacks,” Lobo said.
Margao: Integrated farming blended with eco-tourism is a concept that Goa legislative assembly speaker Ramesh Tawadkar is planning to establish in Canacona soon.While it is still in the conceptual stage, Tawadkar says the project will empower the farmers in a big way while also catapulting Canacona on the eco-tourism map of the world.“The idea is simple,” Tawadkar told TOI. “If a tourist or say, a nature enthusiast, wishes to stay in the village for a month or so and actually try out farming, we will have facilities offering him that very kind of hands-on experience. A farmer will thus have 2-3 rooms built in his field that he will offer as home-stay units. The guest will be able to grow and harvest his own crop or vegetables while also helping the farmer in his regular farming activities.”The farmer will be encouraged to venture into dairy farming and allied activities like a go-shala or cattle breeding centres. Processing of cow urine and cowdung are also lucrative activities that a farmer will be able to try his hands on, Tawadkar said.The Canacona MLA also has his sights set firmly on establishing agro-based industries in Canacona on one lakh sq m of land. Tawadkar said that Rs 60 cr worth of funds have already been sanctioned for the project and once all the modalities about land procurement are worked out, work on the project will begin. This, he said, may take not more than 6 months.Tawadkar said that jackfruit, coconut, kokum and cashew have been identified for setting up food processing units in the initial stage. More fruits will be added later.Integrated farming blended with ecotourism activities will provide lucrative entrepreneurship opportunities for locals, Tawadkar said, while also boosting agriculture.“As agriculture is the mainstay of the village economy of Canacona, the situation is conducive for setting up agro processing units here, and will generate substantial employment for locals,” Tawadkar said.
Panaji: Preserving language plays an important role in understanding and healing the wounds of India’s and Goa’s colonial past, said minister of state for external affairs and culture Meenakashi Lekhi on Saturday. Lekhi said that even the dark aspects of the country’s pre-Independence history offers positive lessons for contemporary society.Lekhi also called for collaboration and exchange of trade and ideas with countries that share a Lusophone history. Lusophones are people that speak Portuguese as a native or as a common second language due to the colonial influence of Portugal.“We understand and take deep cognisance that languages need to be conserved and preserved. Only if you preserve language will you remember the history and the past. That past will always have lessons for humanity,” said Lekhi. “Even the wounds which one would have got of particular events, there are always positive lessons because even bad things can teach us what not to do. Goa maintains historical links with the Lusophone world owing to the Portuguese colonial rule in the past. The ministry of external affairs along with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and the Goa government is organising the International Lusophone Festival in Goa till December 6.“This festival becomes important because India shares deep ties with the Lusophone countries. I hope cultural exchange of this nature, becomes an yearly event. There will be greater exchange of ideas,” said Lekhi. Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who was also present for the event, said that the festival will help promote tourism in Goa and will help connect different countries that share a similar colonial past.
Margao: The South Goa police on Friday held a meeting with the sarpanchs of Salcete villages and with a view to creating an awareness among them about cyber crime and its prevention. DySP Shivendy Bhushan, who chaired the meeting, later told TOI that it was a regular exercise aimed at reaching out to the public in view of the rising incidents of cyber crime in the state. “We are holding meetings with various segments of the society – students, women, NGOs, etc. This was an exercise involving elected representatives from panchayats as they have a wider reach. The sarpanchs were informed about the do’s and don’ts for prevention of cyber crimes, and in case of frauds how to respond to the incidents,” Bhushan said.The sarpanchs who attended the meeting said that they have been asked to create awareness among the villagers on the issue. The sarpanchs also took the opportunity of the interaction with the police officers to apprise the police about the issues faced by the locals over issues concerning law and order.The officers, they said, sought their help in tackling cyber crimes and other crimes. From their side, the sarpanchs urged theof ficers to intensify night patrolling and take preventive measures to curb the rising crime rate. The sarpanchs also brought to the notice of the officers that tourism-related areas are witnessing crimes, and for this, the police need to increase surveillance on the movement of suspicious elements.
Calangute/Panaji: Three days after illegal deck beds and beach tents were confiscated at Morjim, the tourism department cracked the whip at Calangute.Authorities raided shacks on the Calangute beach and seized 145 cane chairs, 68 tables and 32 sofas. Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has vowed to crack down on such illegalities with an iron hand. In a surprise raid late evening, the department along with tourist police swooped down on the beach and seized chairs, tables, sofa sets and deck beds that had been kept illegally by shacks. According to authorities, 32 sofas, 145 cane chairs, 68 tables, 58 sofa cushions, plastic chairs and four beds were confiscated by the department. “The tourism department will not encourage illegalities that are happening on the coastal belt or at other places,” said Khaunte. “Illegalities that were happening in the past cannot be allowed to continue and wherever we find this we will crack down with an iron hand.”Shack owners said the tourism department needs to take a more balanced approach to the problem and allow them to put some tables at least in front of the shacks. As per norms, each shack is allowed to put up 10 deck beds, however tables cannot be placed outside shacks.President of the Traditional Shack Owners’ Association Manuel Cardozo said that the tourism department’s crackdown is appreciated. “There are some who instead of placing a few tables, put 50 tables. Some put tables right down next to the water. They should not be allowed because they block the movement of tourists. But because of a few, everyone should not suffer,” Cardozo said. At the same time, he said that some shack operators have been putting a few tables in front of shacks for decades and they should not be penalised. He said that large-scale violations are only happening in a few areas, but because of the crack down everyone is being harassed.“Stakeholders of the industry need to come together and work to lift Goa’s position as a tourist destination, and we all have to put our best foot forward,” said Khaunte. Assistant tourism officer Milind Chodankar along with tourist police personnel led the raid. The department said that it will intensify measures to curb illegalities.
Panaji: Revolutionary Goans (RG) on Friday alleged that the tourism department is turning a blind eye to the illegalities committed by hawkers and touts.RG founder Manoj Parab said that CCTV cameras should be installed at all tourist places and tourist places monitoring committees should be formed in every panchayat.“The tourism budget is Rs 247 crore for this year of which Rs 12 core is for foreign junkets or promoting Goa in international travel events. Stop these junkets for one year and instead use the Rs 12 crore to set up high definition CCTV cameras on all the beaches,” he said.Parab said that it is shocking that a minister directly blames police for not cracking down on touts, hawkers and beggars. He said that he has sent photos and videos to tourism minister Rohan Khaunte and tourism director Nikhil Desai, but there has been no action. “Hawkers are still selling wares in Panaji near the Immaculate Conception Church. Action is taken against touts for a day or two but after that nothing happens,” Parab said.
Panaji: Concerned about the construction of concrete piers at the mouth of the St Inez creek, a few concerned citizens from Panaji and Taleigao have criticised the haphazard concretisation of the state capital. The residents have warned that the ongoing work to build a foot overbridge near the ESG complex will block the flow of water from the St Inez creek.While residents said that they are in favour of the walkway, they have demanded that the concrete structures should be demolished and instead eco-friendly material should be used to support the arch footbridge.The residents have also urged North Goa collector Mamu Hage, who is also the chief executive officer of Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited (IPSCDL), to dredge the mouth of the St Inez creek, which appears completely blocked.“This creek is the lifeline of Panaji, but now tidal flushing of the creek has stopped because the mouth of the creek has been deliberately choked,” said geologist Arnoldo Carmo Lobo. “The concrete foundation blocks are killing the creek. You do not require concrete pillars for a walkway. That is in an eco-sensitive zone.”The citizens met with Hage and IPSCDL officials, who are executing the Smart City Mission and the AMRUT Mission in the state. The officials briefed the citizens about the plans for the creek and the riverside promenade, which includes a cycling track.The concerned residents had spoken to Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate and tourism minister Rohan Khaunte to ask them about the government’s long-term plans for Panaji.Former Corporation of the city of Panaji councillor Patricia Pinto said that the government is not being transparent. Pinto pointed out that despite concerns being raised and despite assurances given by Khaunte, no presentation has been given to citizens about the major projects being undertaken in Panaji.Coordinator of Goa Green Brigade Avertino Miranda said that the construction at the mouth of the St Inez creek is “illegal and environmentally destructive” as it would lead to increased siltation and flooding in the upstream areas. Local resident Vishal Rawlley said that the creek remains a fragile ecosystem for fish, turtles, otters and even crocodiles.
Panaji: While the country’s GST collections notched up an 11% increase in November, the GST revenue from Goa showed a 14% drop. As against the Rs 518 crore earned in November 2021, tax officials recorded a revenue of Rs 447 crore in the last month. GST officials and the industry expects stronger GST collections in December which is the peak tourism season, and since international charters have resumed arrivals in Goa. Last December, despite the lack of international tourists, Goa still brought in Rs 592 crore as GST revenue, with the resurgence driven by revenge tourism by domestic travellers and uptick in manufacturing.
Panaji: The wedding season and an uptick in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segment has resulted in the state’s starred hotels operating at full occupancy. Small and mid-level hotels, however, are yet to reach this level, with most in the category seeing decent occupancy only on the weekends. Their fortunes are expected to look up after December 10, as Goa approaches its peak tourism period. “Occupancy at small hotels is still at 60-70%, though on the weekends, almost all hotel segments do well. Smaller hotels can expect an increase in occupancy post-December 10 as a lot of activities have been lined up for the second half of the month,” president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), Nilesh Shah, told TOI.The Serendipity Arts Festival is scheduled from December 15, followed by the busy Christmas week. The last week of the year will see the return of Sunburn after two seasons of a lull.Small and mid-segment hotels were the worst hit during the Covid-19 pandemic when several restrictions were imposed on international travel and charter arrivals stopped abruptly. Starred hotels managed to stay afloat by wooing domestic tourists during this time. It also helped that Goa became the most favoured tourist destination for the rest of the country when holidaying abroad was not an option.Recovery of the small hotels segment remained slow after the two-year-long pandemic, with most resuming operations only this year. The resumption of charters, Shah said, has raised the hopes of small and medium hotels, which can expect healthy business in the coming months. He also said that although the state has seen an influx of domestic and foreign tourists during the current season, competition is expected to soar as many other holiday destinations in India and abroad have now opened up fully.“The litmus test of Goa tourism’s sector begins now. It has to be seen how it maintains its dominance as other destinations eye the same market segment as ours,” Shah said. “The going may not be as easy as it was during the past year. Goa tourism must strive to upgrade infrastructure, provide better public transport and maintain cleanliness at tourist spots. It must do all things that matter to tourists, right.”Despite Goa not yet reaching its peak tourist season, many parts have already started experiencing serpentine traffic snarls that are otherwise seen on the last two or three days of the year. Shah said the government urgently needs to devise a traffic management place in the interest of both tourists and locals.
Panaji: Since November, Goa has received one charter a day, besides four scheduled flights a week, from Russia. However, stakeholders said that the state will probably have to wait till the next season to touch the pre-pandemic numbers. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Goa would receive three charters a day from various Russian destinations. Nonetheless, tourism stakeholders are happy with the footfalls as the last two seasons saw them run into losses. “We are doing good this season, but I think we will be able to achieve pre-pandemic level business only next year,” said Ernest Dias, chief operating officer at Sita, handling Russian tourists.For the longest time, Russia has been the biggest market for Goa, apart from the UK. In 2019, Goa received 3.41 lakh tourists from Russia and 2.71 lakh from the UK. More than half the charter tourists came from Russian destinations. Dias said that a new trend that he has observed this season is that, besides budget tourists, the state is also seeing high-spending tourists from Russia.“That’s probably because Russia being at war with Ukraine, its citizens have fewer travel options,” said Dias.Vice president (operations) at Minar Travels (India) Pvt Ltd, Abida Kumar, said charters from Russia will continue till April 23, 2023.Besides Russia, two charters a week from the UK and one from Kazakhstan fly into Goa. President of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), Nilesh Shah, said that with the e-visa issue still unresolved, UK charters are seeing only 50-60% occupancy.“Had the e-visa problem been sorted out, we could have more arrivals from the UK,” Shah said.Before the season started, TUI Airways had committed to fly four charters, but altered its plan after potential UK travellers cancelled their Goa plans after facing difficulties in securing paper visas.Until the pandemic, Goa received repeat tourists from the UK.A tour operator handling UK travellers said that even as the e-visa issues remain unresolved, they are receiving queries from the UK and expect the next season to be better. In 2018, as many as 2.94 lakh travellers from the UK visited Goa, the highest numbers seen in a decade since 2009, while average annual arrivals stood at 1.75 lakh. Goa also received a significant number of tourists from countries such as Germany, Ukraine, Finland, France and Switzerland. Arrivals from Ukraine dried up last year with the war. Arrivals from Finland, France and Switzerland have dipped significantly in the last few years.