Tourism stakeholders fear unruly tourists will drive away high spenders; Some call for a ban on them
PANJIM: At around 8pm on New Year’s Day, a raucous bunch of Telangana tourists roughed up four locals because they were asked to be disciplined. It so happened that 15 men, who had checked into Jude Guest House ahead of the New Year, entered into an argument among themselves disturbing other guests.
The guest house manager Abhilash Patil and room boy Remy Rebello were beaten up when they requested the tourists to maintain silence. The accused, who Calangute Police Inspector Jivba Dalvi said were drunk, also thrashed two others Raju and Jayesh Bhandari by banging them against the wall and a pole. Two of them are serious and undergoing treatment at Goa Medical College and Hospital. While the police were quick to arrest the unruly tourists, the incident has set warning bells ringing for the authorities to tackle such nuisance makers in the State.
In another recent incident, reported last July, 11 tourists from Delhi and Haryana beat up two constables after they were asked not to drink alcohol and create a nuisance at Calangute beach. The youth, whose medical examination confirmed the presence of alcohol in their blood, were arrested and remanded to judicial custody before they were bailed out.
Behaviour of this sort isn’t unusual and has the authorities by and large struggling to manage the rising instances of unruly visitors, most of whom are low-budget tourists. “Some tourists think that in Goa you can do anything, even clicking a photo with a foreigner against their will. Tourists behaving in such a manner are degrading tourism. Many low-budget tourists drink alcohol anywhere, litter the place and misbehave with locals as well as other Indian and foreign tourists,” Deputy Speaker and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo said, apprehending that failing to curb the menace will make more quality and high spending domestic and foreign tourists turn away from Goa.
Availability of cheaper alcohol has also caused a problem for tourism in the State with Lobo alleging that many good tourists have already stopped visiting the northern coastal belt.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Savio Messias held a similar view while condemning the attack on the locals by the tourists. “With cheap alcohol availability and low-budget tourists, these incidents are bound to occur. Strong action should be taken against the law breakers so that it acts as a deterrent,” he said, conceding the involvement of high end tourists too in isolated cases.
Herald spoke to another guest house owner, Domnick Pereira, who in the wake of the assault, sought a ban on such tourists in Goa. “I feel such tourists are not wanted in Goa because they come only to drink (liquor) and create nuisance. It is only giving Goa a bad name,” the proprietor of two guest houses at Calangute and Baga, said.
Stakeholders in one voice have demanded that Goa should not encourage tourists, who fail to give revenue to Goa and instead spoil the image of Goa Tourism. Lobo has asked authorities to step up action against the nuisance makers stating, “The rules and regulations are in place but no one is enforcing. The law enforcing agency is not taking up the issues and are neither prepared to tackle it sternly. They think these tourists are important for Goa, but we don’t need misbehaved tourists. Instead we are losing quality tourists,” he said, asking the authorities ‘to move ahead from debating on the issues’.
Messias, on the other hand, stated that the police are hard pressed and the government cannot be blamed for the arrival of unruly tourists. However, every visitor, he said, should obey the laws of other States too.
A senior police officer Herald spoke to, said on condition of anonymity, that they have pulled in all their resources to ensure the safety of every person in the State. “This peak tourist season, we had deployed additional manpower for maintaining law and traffic situation. Any violation was dealt with strictly, and arrest of Telangana tourists is one example,” he said.
MARCH 2017: 8 to 10 tourists from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, travelling from Keri to Arambol in two four-wheelers, were allegedly behaving in an unruly manner and flinging beer bottles on the road. At the Arambol tinto, some motorcycle pilots asked them to behave properly and not to break the bottles on the road, but the tourists got out of their vehicles and began assaulting a motorcycle pilot. Some locals who went to his rescue were also brutally assaulted by the intoxicated armed tourists
AUGUST 2015: A college student in Margao was brutally assaulted by a group of Maharashtra tourists travelling in a private vehicle. The four tourists, including a woman, also attempted to kidnap the boy after his two-wheeler accidently hit their vehicle. The boy requested that they don’t hit him as he will pay for the damages but the occupants did not pay heed to his plea. The boy, who was held hostage, managed to rescue himself and alerted the police. The accused were taken into custody.
APRIL 2012: Around three locals were assaulted by tourists from Karnataka after the former confronted the visitors for dumping garbage from their tourist bus onto the main road at Peda-Benaulim. The tourists had reportedly escaped after the incident and police registered a non-cognizable offence against them