Singer and music composer Vipin Patwa celebrated New Year 2023 in Goa along with his wife Divya Kohli, friends and family. In a chat with us, he says," I started my New Year at Patnem beach, I celebrated the evening with my friends. I had a great experience and spent some quality time. I have a fixed schedule where I do yoga and boating. Post my yoga session, I go for a swim. I love making a schedule even on a holiday and working according to it," says Vipin. Though Goa is just a few minutes away from Mumbai, Vipin loves to come to Goa. "I often visit Goa every 3-4 months, I feel very close to mother nature, I love the oceans and I feel have a very special connection. One of the reasons I love to visit here is because of the locals - they make everyone feel comfortable and their welcoming attitude is nice. I love their hospitality towards the guests. They make you feel loved, respected, and welcomed. After Mumbai, Goa is my favorite place.""I am a water baby - I love doing water sports, and paragliding, I also love going on a speed boat and swimming in the deep. I believe that one has to be happy and live and let live," says Vipin. He adds, "This New Year's, I was with the kids, friends, and my family and all of us enjoyed our time here in Goa. I want to spend more times with my loved ones. I want to focus more on making better music. "
Vasco: In a bizarre coincidence, two persons died after suffering cardiac arrests in Vasco on the eve of New Year on Saturday.A 72-year-old tourist from Mumbai died after he complained of uneasiness while indulging in a water sports activity at Baina beach in the afternoon. He was identified as Prakash Madhusudan Khair, a resident of Jogeshwari East.Police sources said that Khair had come to the beach with his family, and the group went to indulge in a water sports activity.An eyewitness told reporters that after Khair complained of uneasiness while swimming, the water sports operator and lifeguards on duty immediately brought him ashore and attempted to resuscitate him.He, however, died while being taken to hospital.The police have booked the case as unnatural death and investigation is under way. The cause of death will be known after the post mortem examination.In another incident at Chicalim, a two-wheeler rider died of cardiac arrest at around 2pm while he was headed towards Cortalim from Vaddem.The person, a resident of Marcel, was visiting his sister’s place at Vaddem. While riding the bike, he collapsed on the road due to severe chest pain, an eyewitness said.
MARGAO: Minister for tourism Rohan Khaunte said that a master plan will soon be prepared for the development of Canacona constituency from the point of view of tourism. Introduction of air-conditioned bus service by Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) from Panaji to Canacona for 'Canacona darshan' and development of various spots into places of tourist attraction are among the proposals that were discussed by Khaunte with speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar during the former's two-day tour of the constituency. Addressing reporters, Khaunte said that to provide a fillip to tourism activities in Canacona, the master plan will be divided into three categories - short-term goals, mid-term goals and long-term measures. While all infrastructure development works to be taken up under state government funds will be classified under short-term goals, financial assistance for the other two categories will be sought under the central government scheme, Prime Minister's Swadesh Darshan. Stating that some people are trying to misguide people over Mopa and Dabolim airports, Khaunte said that the government has maintained that no airport will be closed in Goa. He said that the government was committed for development of both South Goa and North Goa, equally, to improve the state's economy. "We plan to create a whole circuit with agro-tourism, wellness tourism, water sports, spiritual tourism, adventure tourism and eco-tourism. We will ensure one central package happens for Canacona and Sanguem talukas," Khaunte added. Stating that the nature of tourism has changed post-Covid with expectations of tourists changing with time, Khaunte stressed on the need for a course correction to maintain the most preferred tourist destination tag. "We are making Canacona a preferred destination among most preferred tourist destinations in Goa. We have identified new avenues such as eagle feeding, beach-coves, butterfly beach and honeymoon beach. We will ensure that water sports follow regulations and illegalities are curbed," the tourism minister said.
Margao: Minister for tourism Rohan Khaunte said that a master plan will soon be prepared for the development of Canacona constituency from the point of view of tourism.Introduction of air-conditioned bus service by Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) from Panaji to Canacona for ‘Canacona darshan’ and development of various spots into places of tourist attraction are among the proposals that were discussed by Khaunte with speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar during the former’s two-day tour of the constituency.Addressing reporters, Khaunte said that to provide a fillip to tourism activities in Canacona, the master plan will be divided into three categories – short-term goals, mid-term goals and long-term measures. While all infrastructure development works to be taken up under state government funds will be classified under short-term goals, financial assistance for the other two categories will be sought under the central government scheme, Prime Minister’s Swadesh Darshan.Stating that some people are trying to misguide people over Mopa and Dabolim airports, Khaunte said that the government has maintained that no airport will be closed in Goa. He said that the government was committed for development of both South Goa and North Goa, equally, to improve the state’s economy.“We plan to create a whole circuit with agro-tourism, wellness tourism, water sports, spiritual tourism, adventure tourism and eco-tourism. We will ensure one central package happens for Canacona and Sanguem talukas,” Khaunte added.Stating that the nature of tourism has changed post-Covid with expectations of tourists changing with time, Khaunte stressed on the need for a course correction to maintain the most preferred tourist destination tag.“We are making Canacona a preferred destination among most preferred tourist destinations in Goa. We have identified new avenues such as eagle feeding, beach-coves, butterfly beach and honeymoon beach. We will ensure that water sports follow regulations and illegalities are curbed,” the tourism minister said.
PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Wednesday said that post-Covid the tourism scenario has changed and Goa’s tourism masterplan accordingly needs a course correction. He said that Goa can no more be under the misconception that it is the sole preferred tourist destination. The minister said that Goa will now look at attracting tourists from new markets like Poland, South Korea, Japan and US. Goa cannot depend only on visitors from UK and Russia now, he said. “We need to look east to Poland, Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan and other markets like US, and not depend on tourists only from UK and Russia. This year, we have only gone to Singapore to promote Goa. Given the challenges we have, we will need to give equal stress on domestic and international tourists. After Mopa international airport starts, we will have connectivity to so many new places,” Khaunte said. He said that Goa is in a delicate situation now as tourism infrastructure is also being developed by neighbouring states like Maharashtra along its coast. “We have to understand that Goa is in a very delicate position as far as tourism is concerned. We are under the misconception that we are the most preferred tourism destination. If we do not correct ourselves, in the days to come, we will not remain the most preferred destination. If tourists start going to some other state, then our stakeholders will start getting affected tomorrow,” said Khaunte. On Monday, the state government declared as ‘nuisance’ various tourism-related activities: begging and drinking in tourist spaces, operation of water sports outside designated zones, selling cruise boat tickets other than from authorised kiosks, littering and cooking in open spaces, and hawking at beaches and other tourist places. Under the provision of Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, the violators can now be fined Rs 5,000 up to Rs 50,000, in addition to action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “Tourists have started talking through social media how they are being fleeced by touts. It is time that we start cleaning them. Now those creating nuisance will be fined and if they are unable to pay the fine, they can be arrested by the police. We call upon stakeholders to help crackdown on these illegalities, which are ruining the experience for the tourist,” the minister said. Tourists’ expectations are different post Covid pandemic and Goa needs to go beyond promoting sun, sand and sea, and start thinking about hinterland tourism, wellness, ecotourism etc, he said. “Today we can be threatened by coastal belts of neighbouring states which are under development. We will also take action against tourists who drink on beaches and break bottles. We have asked the chief minister to hold a joint meeting with the tourism department and excise department to tackle this, by starting a bottle deposit system,” Khaunte said. The new amendment to the act will help Goa up its tourist numbers and attract quality tourists, he said.
PANAJI: The state government on Monday declared as ‘nuisance’ various tourism-related activities: begging and drinking in tourist spaces, operation of water sports outside designated zones, selling cruise boat tickets other than from authorised kiosks, littering and cooking in open spaces, and hawking at beaches and other tourist places. Director of tourism Nikhil Desai, who issued the order under the provision of Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, said that violators would be fined “Rs 5,000 which may go up to Rs 50,000”, in addition to action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “Such activities are likely to damage or deteriorate the tourism potential of tourist places,” said Desai in his order. Apart from drinking at public spaces including beaches, the order stated that breaking glass bottles and littering can attract penal action. Boating and watersports activities, the order said, has to be conducted within designated zones, while cooking in the open by tourists, which leads to littering, will not be permitted. During peak tourist season — December to January and April to May — when footfalls soar, low-budget domestic tourists often choose to cook along the roadside, a scene more prevalent in coastal parts of North Goa. Over the past few years, touting too has become rampant, and tickets for various activities are sold in the open even as the tourism department has made it clear that tickets should not be sold from counters other than those authorised by it. It has also warned against selling of tickets for watersports activities, and packages or services offered in Malvan or Karwar by unauthorised operators in Goa. Not just tourist places, even towns are now swamped with beggars, including children. The order has listed it as a nuisance. Deck beds and beach umbrellas placed on beaches without permission from the department, the order said, will also be treated as nuisance and confiscated. Driving of unauthorised vehicles on beaches will also be similarly treated. In the past few months, several incidents of people taking their bikes and four wheelers on beaches have come to light. The order has been sent to all police stations, directing them to take action as per Section 13 of the Tourist Places Act if they find violations listed in the order.
Panaji: Traditional fishermen or ‘ramponkars’ of Caranzalem have demanded that the water sports activities along the beach be stopped immediately. They alleged that the movement of jet-skis disturbs the fish and affects their fishing operations.“They cannot carry out activities within fishing limits even with a licence. Such activities that disturb the fish and our fishing practices must come to an immediate stop,” said members of the Caranzalem Raponkar and Traditional Fishermen Association.The coastal area in question from the Goa Science Centre to Raj Bhavan is an important point of confluence of the Mandovi, Zuari, and Arabian Sea.AAP expressed support towards the ramponkars who were upset over illegal water sports activity being carried out in the waters. “Water sports activities are restricted to demarcated zones,” AAP’s Alina Saldanha said.
PANAJI: Aimed at streamlining the system before the season gets busier, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte recently met with water sports operators to discuss various problems faced by them. The crucial issues the department wants to deal with are cheating of customers, illegal operators, rampant touting and over charging. A tourism official said that water sports activities should be an enjoyable experience for tourists and that accidents should be avoided. Some operators spoke about illegal travel agencies operating from starred hotels that fleece tourists. They also sell packages of water sports activities at Malvan in Maharashtra, a prominent tourist spot of the neighbouring state,, they alleged, and demanded that these illegal agencies be stopped. The complainants were asked to share names of these agencies so that action can be taken against them, the officer said. On the issue of rate charts, the department said that it wants to notify common rates for various water sports activities. While operators had earlier been instructed to display boards in their zones specifying the rates, only a few do it. Also, just five operators have submitted their rate charts after being asked to. The others have been asked to submit the same within seven days, the official said. Operators have also been instructed to follow a queue system and to function in their demarcated areas in order to avoid clashes. “Issues such as queue management, standardisation of rates and demarcation of boundaries will be managed through a GEL software,” the officer said. The demand for a lifetime licence to operate boats for joy rides was rejected by the department, but the official said that the possibility of issuing licences for a longer term could be considered. There was a request to set-up a toilet at Nerul beach to which Khaunte agreed to identify and provide suitable land. Water sports operators were also instructed not to indulge in unhealthy trade practice and adopt modern technology.
PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Thursday clarified that his ministry has no intent to corporatise the water sports activities, and the profession which has been with Goan operators will remain with them. “Water sports will remain in the hands of Goans. We are only streamlining the system. There is no mention of corporate in the draft,” Khaunte told reporters as he explained the motive for having a jetty policy and the purpose of reducing the number of documents required to be submitted by an entity while registering with the department. Any activity linked to tourism has to be registered with the tourism department. Recently, the department reduced the documents required to be obtained from it during registration. Ever since the draft jetty policy was released, the department has come under fire, with some alleging that the government has a hidden agenda behind the move. Addressing the media along with tourism director Nikhil Desai, Khaunte said the main purpose was to remove illegalities in the water sports activities, and to stop illegal guides and touts who have become the main beneficiary of the water sports activities. Pointing out to the illegal operation of boat rides with pick-ups happening close to a starred hotel at Campal, Khaunte said no action has been taken despite bringing it to the notice of the police department. “We have not given them permission to operate, and yet they conduct their activities,” said Khaunte. The minister said that his department wants to put things in order so that tourists are not cheated, and appealed to stakeholders not to get misled by those who have been making allegations ever since the government unveiled its plan. The jetty policy has been proposed only to weed out illegal operators and to ensure tourists are offered quality and secured service, he said. By having a jetty policy, the department plans to regulate the services offered at jetties which are in its domain. It feels removal of unregulated and illegal operators will plug revenue leakages. The tourism minister also stated that they will discuss the issue with stakeholders before finalising the jetty policy.
Margao: Taking up cudgels for water sports operators of South Goa, GFP chief Vijai Sardesai on Monday said that his party will oppose any moves by the government to bring in “anti-local policies that will snatch all water sports activities from their hands and offer them to big corporates”.“We are being vocal for local. Water sports is a local business and should remain with locals, not with outsider lobbies,” Sardesai told reporters after a delegation of South Goa water sports association called on him with their grievances. Sardesai said that the water sports operators were apprehensive that the government intends to hand over the water sports business to corporates, thereby snatching their livelihoods, by bringing in jetty policy and in the name of ease of doing business. “The government wants the water sports operators to sign an undertaking that they will abide by the rules formed by the government governing water sports. They have decided to sign the undertaking but with a clause that the agreement be without prejudice to their rights and contentions,” Sardesai said. The Fatorda MLA also demanded that water sports in South Goa resume at the earliest as such activities have already begun on the North Goa beaches.However, he said that water sports operators were willing to cooperate with the government in so far as bringing in regulations concerning safety aspects or with regards to maintaining a queue system.“But in the guise of making a queue system, you can’t allow (corporates) to take over the business. This goes against the fundamental right of the local water sports operators to do business,” Sardesai said.He urged the government, particularly the tourism department, to take all stakeholders into confidence before finalising the new tourism policy.
Panaji: While the government has frozen the issuance of new licences for water sports activities, the Captain of Ports department (CoP) has given technical clearance to over 2,000 old licence-holders ahead of the tourism season. Water sports licences are renewed every year and applicants have to also obtain clearance from the tourism department before they start operations after the monsoon. A CoP official said a licence is issued only after the worthiness of the equipment is examined. “As mandated by the government, new licences have not been issued. We have done our part, and the tourism department has also started the process to clear applications,” the official said.In May, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte had declared that new licences would not be issued as activities of water sports operators have not yet been streamlined.Water sports operators have increased over the past few years, with a majority operating along beach stretches in North Goa, mostly Calangute, Candolim, Baga, Dona Paula and Nerul. As a result, competition and illegalities in the business have also intensified. A tourism official said when many operators are concentrated along any beach stretch, there are bound to be fights, especially when footfalls drop.While it is mandatory for operators to list the rates of services offered by them, prices are habitually dropped during slack periods and raised during peak season. “What concerns us is the lack of discipline and several operators conducting business on a single beach. If they exceed the coast’s carrying capacity, it could lead to accidents,” the official said.There have also been complaints of water sports operators entering swimming zones despite these being no-go areas for them.“They don’t care when warned not to encroach into swimming zones. It is particularly difficult to control them at busy beaches like Baga and Calangute,” the official said.
Considering the footfall, stakeholders hopeful of better season next timeMargao: Though officially the tourism season winds up on May 30, many stakeholders in Salcete including shack owners, water sports operators and hoteliers are shutting shop early.The effects of COVID on the tourism industry over the past two years had many worried things with fears that tourism may not get back on track. However, this season, stakeholders say that things have improved slightly and the industry may see smooth operations next season.This year, many stakeholders started operations later than usual as they waited to see the trend of tourists during the peak season of November-January. Unlike the 2020-21 season, this season saw mostly domestic tourists flock to Salcete beaches, with Colva and Benaulim being popular ones especially during the Christmas-New Year holiday season.A handful of foreign tourists had made their way to the beaches of Colva, Benaulim, Varca and Cavleossim but with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the state’s major chunk of foreign Russian tourists failed to turn up this season. Many said that Russian tourists who had come to the state had to leave after a few days.Cavelossim shack owner and president of the Shack Owners Welfare Society, Goa Cruz Cardozo said, “A Russian couple who had come to my shack but after two days, I learnt that they had to return to their home country because of the war. Once the war started, we couldn’t see Russian tourists. It was mainly the Indian tourists who visited the state this season.”Along the Salcete coast, shack owners had started dismantling the structures as early as the beginning of May and the majority by mid- May. Bigger, popular shacks mostly in Colva and Benaulim however are waiting for the end of the month to wrap up.Goa Small and Medium Hoteliers Association president Serafin Cotta meanwhile is also hopeful and is looking to the next season. “Right now, the way forward looks to be good. We are hoping that with Russian tourists’ arrival collapsing, we can somehow get the English tourists to the state. This year, we mainly saw domestic tourists but we didn’t get as much business since many tourists were staying in unregistered rooms,” he said.Water sports operators too are hopeful as they have also seen a steady rise in domestic tourists. “We usually receive domestic tourists using water sports activities like banana boat rides, jet and water ski rides and parasailing. Since COVID, this year we are slowly seeing improvement. Compared to last season, we had a much better season this time,” said Colva-based water sport operator Menino Fernandes.However, there is a unanimous call for support and assistance from the government to further help the stakeholders stay afloat.“Shack owners are happy that permissions were given in time this season, but we have appealed to the government to give a one – or two-year extension to the holding of the shack allotment process which is due this year since last year many had not put up their shacks because of the pandemic. We have written to the tourism department already and hope that our request is considered,” said Cardozo.The problem of unregistered rooms has been troubling the small and medium hoteliers with constant calls to the state government to crack down on such practices as it was causing a loss to the state’s exchequer.“The new tourism minister seems to be interested in addressing our issues. We just hope the issue of unregistered rooms is resolved since around 80% of the tourists are staying in unregistered rooms, which is a loss to the state,” said Cotta.Subsidies and incentives, say stakeholders, could also help ease the burden. “It would come as a welcome relief to water sports operators if the government could provide us with some subsidies along the lines of the fisheries department either in providing a fuel subsidy or an incentive to help us buy new boats or equipment,” said Fernandes.
‘Government aiming to hand over premises on December 19’Panaji: Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Tourism Shripad Naik on Tuesday informed that 75-80% of the National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) work has been completed and that the government is aiming to formally hand over the premises to the NIWS on December 19 by completing the pending work.NIWS is a designated centre under the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management which is run by the Union Tourism Ministry.Foundation stone for the project was laid in 2014, but the work was halted for quite long due to various reasons. Even though the project is incomplete it has been partially made functional.“There is work that needs to be completed, including that of the swimming pool. As of today, 75-80% work is complete and more funds are required to complete the project. Estimated cost of the project in 2014 was `57 crore but that is not enough as now the prices of material have shot up. We will provide the required amount and get it completed, and hand it over on December 19,” Naik said, while interacting with mediapersons along with Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte after holding a review meeting with the concerned officials.Khaunte said that the Goa government will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NIWS and take benefits of the services offered by it.He informed that till date 2,458 students from Goa have received training at the NIWS in different disciplines.“Officials of NIWS and tourism department should chalk out a roadmap and sign a MoU where Goa government and department of tourism can benefit from the initiatives taken by the NIWS,” he said.
Colva: The carcasses of two Olive Ridley turtles washed ashore at Benaulim on Monday afternoon. Fisherman Pele Fernandes said he was on the beach around 2.30pm when he noticed a dead turtle washed ashore, followed by a second one a little later. He said it is surprising because water sports have been stopped for the last fortnight due to rough sea conditions and also fishing canoes have not ventured into the sea. Locals said they fear that tar balls could be the reason behind these fatalities. TNN
When 27-year-old Harsha Naik from Bicholim would wait for her brother to come home to ask him about his day as a lifeguard, she would enjoy the thrill, risk, respect and responsibility that her brother would get. This inspired her to be one of the first woman lifeguards in Goa. On the other side was 21-year-old Shriya Karekar from Margao, who was getting fascinated with jet skis and her brother’s heroics attempts to save lives that pulled her towards this profession. Both women are currently lifeguards and are a part of the new program - Swim with Lifesavers. ‘We were inspired by our brothers’“The respect that I see my brother getting when he is at the beach is just amazing. He would come home and tell us about how he saved the tourists from drowning, the different measures and precautions he takes. A few weeks after I joined as a lifeguard, I told my father and he was very unhappy about the step I took. My mother is a swimmer and encouraged me to go ahead,” says Harsha. The family is into the business of sweet making and Harsha used to handle this, and there was some initial opposition as she was leaving the family profession. For Shriya this was a cool job to take. “Though the job had its own risks, it had a cool element too. As a kid, I was always fascinated by jet skis and I would go to Colva beach and admire the water sports. Here I can use the jet ski and save someone too - it’s a perfect place for me.” Shriya recently joined the services run by Drishti Marine Lifesavers and is posted at Benaulim beach. ‘As brothers we protect and guide them’“I told Shriya about the responsibilities of the job, you have to be mentally and physically present. If you snooze, you can lose a person to the tide. And I know that my sister is much more responsible than I am and being a swimmer by profession, she was fit for this post. I try to teach her techniques and ideas which she can use on the beach,” says Damodar Karekar, 27, captain administrator, who overlooks Arossim-Baina Beaches. He adds, “I asked my superiors not to post her and me at the same place as there could be misunderstandings created among teammates.”As a lifeguard they have to use various strategies to ensure that people are safe. “Working for around four years, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge how and what to speak to guests. I tell my sister what has to be done even though they are trained. I’ve asked her to be acquainted with the water sports and shack staff. They all help when we are in need. This is what I keep telling Harsha,” says Gautam Gajanan Naik, lifesaver who is currently posted on Baga Beach. ‘Our bros warned us about the tan’ The job comes not with just responsibilities but with a lot of tan, face allergies and other health issues. “When I wanted to join, my brother had told me about the tan and the other skin ailments. Being a student of fashion designing in the past, when I look at myself now, I’ve tanned a lot. But where will I go with all that fairness? I’m happy about what I’m doing. This job has given me a great feeling,” says Shriya. For Harsha - it’s a different deal. “More than me, My sister is concerned about my skin. She takes me to the parlour. But the next day, I’m back on the beach and I tend to get tanned again. Before I used to get scared of rescues, but a year into this, people treat us with a lot of respect,” says Harsha.
Panaji: The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa has welcomed the government’s move to increase floor area ratio (FAR) for three- and four-star hotels along with five-star hotels, but said this should be done with sensitivity to Goa’s ecology. “Instead of illegal extensions, this will bring in more revenue to the government,” TTAG president Nilesh Shah said, adding that overall the proposal looks good on paper, but the association will have to see how it pans out. TTAG had requested that the benefit of additional FAR that was being permitted for five-star hotels be extended to lower category hotels, too, so that “it becomes more rationalised”. “There are many projects coming into Goa and it’s better that the additional FAR is rationalised so that illegalities are curbed and to bring in more revenue to the government.” At the same time, care should be taken to retain Goa’s beauty, Shah said. “Higher FAR cannot be permitted point blank. It must be done with sensitivity to Goa’s environment. Care will have to be taken, especially in congested areas, so see that Goa’s ecosystem is preserved. FAR cannot just be given for the sake of it. Goa’s beauty should be retained,” he said. Smaller hotels were hit badly during the pandemic. “There were takers for five-starred hotels, but not for small hotels. Small hoteliers have not revived completely. We are looking at sustainable tourism today. We see a lot of tourists coming into Goa and, if we want to increase their spending capacity, we need to work. Existing businesses need to be sustained,” he said. Goa has something for everyone—from high spending to low spending tourists—and all the people in the trade need to be sustained along with other verticals of business—tour operators, water sports activities, cruise activities etc, he said. TOI had reported that the town and country planning board on Tuesday decided to increase the FAR for four and five starred hotels from the existing 20 percent to 30 percent in both rural and urban areas.
Panaji: The decision to freeze issuance of new permissions for water sports activities, till fresh guidelines or rules are made applicable, has been taken in view of the rise in the number of operators over the last few years. This sector has remained out of control with most operators operating without paying heed to the tourism department’s instructions. Now the department wants to deal with them with an iron hand, a tourism official said. “There are some beach stretches where about 300 operators operate, causing congestion,” the officer said. With the ports department being the main agency to issue permissions after examining water sports gear, many don’t approach the tourism department even as registration under the Tourist Trade Act is mandatory. “We want to have rules as well as set the carrying capacity of each beach stretch to avoid congestion of operators. While new permissions will not be issued, we want to have everything in order before the next season starts,” he said. Another problem is that operators also do not stick to zones marked for them and encroach upon swim zones exposing swimmers to dangers, he said. Such violations happen particularly at Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Coco beach and Colva. To address the problem of congestion, the department had tried to implement a system to permit operators to operate on rotation basis. However, this did not work as many of the operators have more than two to three gears. Also, most of them have hired people to man their gears as they look after their tourism-related activities. “Most of the shack operators double up as water sports operators and jet skis and other gears bought and registered in the name of their family members,” a tourism stakeholder said. “With so many operators, including those operating illegally, keeping a watch on all of them is not easy,” the stakeholder said.
Calangute: Existing water sports activities will continue till the end of the season according to water sports operators in the Calangute-Candolim tourism hub. Candolim-based water sports operator Seby D’Souza told TOI that the announcement by the tourism minister about “freezing” permissions for water sports activities refers to only new registrations, and none of the ongoing water sports activities will be stopped. A section of the media reported on Tuesday that water sports activities will be stopped. “I had a meeting with the tourism minister yesterday to discuss the new policy for water sports and beach shacks. From what I understand, they want water sports operators to first register with the tourism department and then register with the Captain of Ports (CoP). We explained to him that the CoP has to first certify the fitness of the boats which is the existing system. Under the existing system we don’t register with the tourism department so he wants to change that and bring us under the tourism trade act,” D’Souza, who is the vice-president of the shack owners’ welfare society (SOWS), said. tnn
Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Monday said that the government has put a freeze on granting of permissions for watersport activities until such time that the entire process is reviewed. Khaunte also said that the government will introduce an integrated plan to ensure clean and safe beaches to attract tourists. To regulate water sport activities, the state government will slightly modify the permissions, the minister said, adding that “new permission for water sport activities will be kept on hold”. Khaunte said that the Captain of Ports gives the no-objection certificate (NOC) for water sports activities without checking whether the tourism department has granted any permission. “After taking permission from the CoP they come to the registration facilitation counter and apply for a NoC and take that and go back, and here it is a mess, and we acknowledge this mess. As of now we are freezing every NoC to be given to water sport activities till such time that we review the whole process. We have spoken to the chief minister,”he said. Khaunte said that the state government will make some changes wherein those involved in tourism activities will have to first take permissions from the tourism department and till then other departments concerned will not be able to grant any permissions. “We will make slight changes on this line, because, otherwise, the tourism department is blamed,” he said. Khaunte said that the state government will shortly launch an app to connect tourists with industry stakeholders. He also said that people are talking about facilities, including toilets and shower rooms among others, on beaches. “Henceforth, instead of calling them toilets we will call them convenience centres. In this convenience centre there will be one tourism department information counter,” he said. Speaking on beach cleaning, Khaunte said, “Beach cleaning is not being done in the manner normal beach cleaning should be done.” Khaunte said that he wants to give a message about clean and safe beaches in Goa. “We have to introduce an integrated module, including surveillance cameras, proper lighting, 24x7 police deployment, and beach cleaning, etc,” he said. Khaunte said that there is a shortage of police personnel deployed on beaches and the tourism department needs to take some people under the integrated plan.
Preeti Jhangiani, who was recently in Goa took some time off for a quick chat with Goa Times. "There is a sense of peace and calm as soon as one lands here. Goa holds a special place in my heart . There are many special memories attached. Earlier when I used to hang out with my gang of friends when I was younger, it was my first taste of freedom and I love the Goan partying scene and Goan food. And now I have so many special holidays with Parvin and with my sons," she says. "We definitely try any new place that comes up for food! And now Goa is like a paradise for food lovers. There are so many different cuisines to try from. Apart from eating we are always on the lookout for secluded beach spots, or new beach cafes and bars. We are total beach bums and love all water sports; and Parvin and I both scuba dive as well. We come here atleast 2-3 times every year, but beach evenings when the water is calm are the best," she says. On the work front, she is shooting for her next feature film.
Staff ReporterMargaoFishermen have raised objection to the plan to set up a floating jetty at the Benaulim beach “as it will be detrimental” to the sources of livelihood of the people involved in traditional occupations in the area including shack owners, taxi drivers and water sports operators.Earlier last week, fishermen operating off the Benaulim-Vadi beach were surprised to find CRZ officials along with representatives of the Drishti company inspecting and demarcating an area on the beach.“We are traditional fishermen operating along this entire beach stretch. Drishti company along with CRZ officials came to inspect and marked the area to have a floating jetty. The plan is to ferry guests who land directly at the Vasco airport to the coastal belt via Baina beach. For this they want to build a jetty, but it will be bad for all the people on the coastal stretch who are doing traditional occupations,” said fisherman Pele Fernandes.He further said that taxi drivers who are already facing issues will be completely destroyed if hotels use the floating jetty to ferry guests instead of their vehicles. Similarly, he said, traditional fishermen or ramponkars will have little to no space to catch fish in the sea, park their boats or even dry their nets.“We want the tourism minister and the chief minister to scrap this plan, if not we will take to the streets along with the taxi drivers, fishermen, shack owners and water sports to oppose it,” said Fernandes.Foreign tourists visiting the beach also said a floating jetty would go against the touristic experience they currently come to the state for.“There is so much tradition and authenticity here in Goa and it is in itself an asset. These are things that are still nice to see and have to be maintained. We like the typical authentic way of life and we love to live among the traditional fishermen. The jetty will destroy all this authentic life,” said a Brazilian tourist visiting the beach.
Panaji: Promising a shift from enforcement to facilitation, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Sunday said that online approval and registration services for the tourism industry will be rolled out within a week. Khaunte, who was speaking at a Travel and Tourist Association of Goa (TTAG) event, said that Goa needs to focus on a long-term strategy to attract high spending tourists. “Businessmen should focus more on their business and spend less time on paperwork and visiting government offices. This week we will introduce and launch online services for registration and renewal of permissions for all types of hotels, guest houses, water sports and other services,” Khaunte said. He also said that he has directed department officials to “trust the Goemkar” and ensure that documentation and verification checks are kept to the minimum with e-sign documents being requested. “We need to be more of facilitators and as a thought, as we bring these things online, I have told the department to work with the tagline trust the Goemkar. There has been a trust deficit in the government with the paperwork coming in and when we give permissions the department checks the genuineness of the papers,” Khaunte said. Reiterating his earlier point that Goa needs to focus on quality tourists instead of numbers, he said that a five to 10-year plan needs to be put in place to brand Goa as a premium tourist destination. “We need to get the right type of tourists, high-spending tourists here. If we put together a plan of five to 10 years, we will start generating quality tourists. When we talk about quality tourists, we are talking about looking at quality seriously and we need to build it up. It is not a game that will be played for two or three days,” Khaunte said. TTAG president Nilesh Shah, who spoke earlier, said that Goa needs to focus on brand building and digital marketing, which targets high-spending tourists. However, Shah warned that the current spate of crimes against women and fraud could spoil Goa’s reputation. He also said that touts, drugs and prostitution will ruin Goa’s reputation as a family destination. “There should be no compromise on law enforcement and strict action must be taken when dealing with such situations to send a message that Goa is safe,” Shah said.
Panaji: Fast-tracking revival of tourism industry in the state after the pandemic, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte on Sunday said that registration of tourism activities at the department will be made online soon. Khaunte said that all activities related to tourism in the state will go online to facilitate ease of doing business to stakeholders.Khaunte was speaking at a late evening function organised for the 34thinstallation of the president and managing committee of the Travel & Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) at Dona Paula.“EoDB (ease of doing business) is crucial. Business people should focus on business. All renewals will be online. End to end support will be provided and there will be no harassment to stakeholder,” promised Khaunte. With hotels in the state facing shortage of skilled staff, the minister added that skilling and support will be provided to local youth to make them employable.The function saw the induction of the new managing committee with Nilesh Shah.Khaunte was the chief guest on the occasion, while the guest of honour was Puneet Goel, Chief Secretary and Ravi Dhawan, Secretary Tourism special guest.A five year term for excise licence, 50% reduction in fees for C & D category hotels, deferred electricity payments, and extension of panchayat fees, were some of the achievements of TTAG during the year 2021-22.Ganesh Gaonkar, chairman of GTDC, Ralph De Souza, president of GCCI, Menino D’Souza, director of Tourism Department, Rajan Satardekar, director of transport department, Gagan Malik, director of Goa Airport, officials of GTDC and the department of tourism were present.
Outboard motor providedMargao: The Betul coastal security police station received an outboard motor, to be used for a canoe for patrolling activities, under the CSR activity of Haathi Mahal resort, Mobor. The motor, said DySP Rajendra Prabhudesai, would go a long way in helping with patrolling activities along the South Goa coastal stretch.Speaking to mediapersons at the handing over of the motor to the police department, DySP Prabhudesai said that “we had requested to provide us a motor under CSR activity, which we will use in our patrolling activities. It will go a long way in helping us keep an eye along the coastal stretch, from Majorda to Cabo de Rama. We will also keep a watch over fishing trawlers within 5 nautical miles and we can also take action against those that come from outside,” he said.Similarly, it will also help in keeping a watch over water sports activities, he said.Haathi Mahal general manager George Lobo said, “We feel like it is our responsibility to help the police. Our management came forward to donate this outboard motor. Patrolling by the coastal police is very important as it is for the benefit of not only the people but the tourists as well. Under CSR, we feel it is our duty to contribute to society.”
Actress Kapilakshi Malhotra is giving us some major FOMO while she is enjoying the scenic beauty of Goa. Talking about her Goa trip, Kapilakshi says, "Calm shore, beautiful sea beaches, thrilling water sports are the things I love about Goa. Goa is such a lovely place. It is the best place to beat the bustle of city life. I feel relaxed and can unwind in Goa. I often make trips to Goa, whenever I find time in my schedule." Speaking about her solo trip, she further added, "I love solo trips. Right now, I am enjoying my company in Goa. Just relaxing and rejuvenating myself. I am just living in the moment, breathing free, leaving all the work tensions and stress behind. I believe that it's important to take the break from work to empty your mind, and relax each muscle. Sometimes the pandemonium of life leads you to the perfect peace of your own unconditional acceptance." Talking about what Goa means to her, she says, "Goa is a unique place in itself. I love exploring beaches and eating the local cuisine. There's a different vibe in Goa's atmosphere. This place is a treasure trove filled with places to explore and experiences to savour."
NT NETWORKMargaoHundreds of tourists as well as locals flocked to the beaches in Salcete taluka on Friday to ring in the New Year despite the rising number of COVID cases in the state. Several major junctions in the area were also witness to traffic jams that weremanaged and controlled by the local police and traffic cell.Around 150 police personnel were roped in from several South Goa units including that of Margao, Quepem and Curchorem to man major junctions, direct traffic and patrol the streets.Junctions like that at Maria Hall in Benaulim and Green Building in Colva saw a steady flow of traffic during the day which picked up pace by late evening.As per the pre-set plan, the traffic cell had notified three areas in Colva and two in Benaulim for parking of vehicles. Mostly two-wheelers and four-wheelers were seen roaming the streets making their way to the beach to ring in the New Year. For the most part, the police authorities said commuters were cooperative and helped in the smooth flow of traffic and parking of vehicles.At the beaches of Benaulim and Colva, majority of locals and tourists were seen without masks and lacking social distancing norms, while they enjoyed the sea water, food and parties at the local shacks and water sports during the day.Many were busy enjoying the last few hours of the year taking selfies and enjoying themselves.In villages, youngsters partook in a tradition where a stuffed figure of an old man was burned as the clock struck 12.
Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that his government has been able to utilize 96% of the funds sanctioned to Goa for various projects by the central government. Several of the projects are nearing completion, while the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Goa, campus at Cuncolim will be ready by August 2022, the international law school will begin operations from June 2022 and will have 20% seats reserved for Goans, Sawant said. “The government of India has certified that we have utilized 96% of the funds sanctioned to us during my tenure,” Sawant said. He was speaking after releasing the report card on the achievements of the BJP governments in Goa over the last 10 years. Since 2014, Goa received Rs 25,000 crore funding from the centre under PM Narendra Modi, for both human development and infrastructure development. This is more than Goa’s annual budget, which is Rs 21,000 crore, he said. “While carrying out all this development, many are ready to shoot us claiming that we are carrying out haphazard development. But it has been certified by the government of India that we have climbed to number three from number seven in sustainable development,” Sawant said. “In the case of Mormugao Port Trust, we were only being blamed so far for coal transportation, but Roro services and other such projects are coming up with sanction of the central government,” the chief minister said. By March 2022, a national water sports institute is expected to be completed at Miramar, which will offer graduate, postgraduate and MBA programmes in water sports, he said.
Panaji: The department of tourism has directed all stakeholders, especially online service providers, to register their businesses with the department. The recently amended Goa Registration of Tourist Trade Rules, 1985, has brought new tourist services, like adventure sports, spice plantations and online service providers, under the purview of registration. The rules were notified and brought into effect from April 1. The department has stated that only two online service providers — MakeMyTrip India Pvt Ltd and IBIBO Group Pvt Ltd — are currently registered with it. In a public notice, the department has stated that every person in the business of accommodation, running a travel agency, operating tours or water sports activities, dealing in handicrafts, working as tourist guides or photographers, operating government and private shacks and private huts, renting out deck beds, umbrellas, etc, have to register their activities. If already registered, they have been directed to apply for renewal of registration. The department has stated that “action deemed fit will be initiated against” online service providers who fail to register their business.