Goa govt unveils 'Beach Vigil App' for public to fix touts, give tourists a sense of security

Panaji, Jan 28 (IANS): With the constant fear that tourist footfalls will decrease if they are harassed or better services are not provided, the Goa government is focusing on making the tourism sector more efficient and has thrown open a ‘Beach Vigil App’ for the public.

The Beach Vigil App was launched in 2022 to keep a watch on the activities taking place on the beaches. Earlier, only officials had access to this App, however, now it has been thrown open to the public after a trial.

Through this App stakeholders and the public can report events which mar the tourism industry. Be it littering, drinking or cooking in the beach area, hawkers, illegal structures, sound pollution, driving vehicles on the beach, touts engaged in various activities could be reported. Thus action can be sought.

Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said that the Beach Vigil App is for surveillance of the activities happening on the beaches. “One can post a photo of any illegality taking place on the beach. The system will take action accordingly,” he said.

Khaunte said that Illegal touts harass tourists and hence his department has started taking action. “These touts discourage tourists. We will ensure time bound action is taken against them if anyone complains,” he said.

Khaunte has also vowed to provide clean and safe beaches to the tourists and the people of Goa with the aim to restore the past glory of the beaches with the active participation of all stakeholders.

Earlier, Khaunte had said that Goa has challenges with regard to tourism from the Sindhudurg belt (in Maharashtra) and from the Karnataka border.

“The department is taking steps to promote water sports and eradicate the menace of illegal touts, so tourists are not affected. If we don’t act tourists may start going to neighboring states,” Khaunte had said.

“We need to weed out the illegalities from this system and for that we have to first act against the touts. I have been saying this for many days, how tourists face a bad experience from these touts. It's good that the police have started to act against the touts,” he said.

According to the police, under the Tourist Trade Act 1982 the first time offender (tout) is fined Rs 5,000, while if the same accused commits a crime the second time then the amount goes up to Rs 50,000 and there is provision of imprisonment if the person commits a crime the third time.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant last week said that "if we fail to maintain cleanliness and beauty of the state, then tourists will get diverted and later it will be difficult to attract them again,"

“Safety and security is very important. We want good tourism in Goa. Tourists come here for sun, sand and sea, spiritual and wellness tourism. Hence our greenery should be maintained. We have to focus on spiritual and wellness tourism, but for that we should maintain cleanliness,” Sawant said.



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Title: Goa govt unveils 'Beach Vigil App' for public to fix touts, give tourists a sense of security

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