Touts mar water sports activities, Goa faces tough competition from Malvan: Minister

Panaji, Mar 27 (IANS): Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte on Monday said that the coastal state has tough competition from Malvan (in Maharashtra) in water sports, and hence there is need to eradicate touts involved in these activities.

Khaunte, while speaking during zero hour in the ongoing Assembly session, said that touts are marring the business of water sports activities in the state.

"We want to ensure that this traditional activity continues in our state, but in the right manner. Today without opting technology we cannot go ahead. We have competition with Malvan in water sports. Competition has increased. There are illegal touts in water sports activities. Parasailing is charged at Rs 800, where touts take away Rs 450 and operators get mere Rs 350. We want an operator, who is Goan, to earn a whole amount of Rs 800," Khaunte said.

Narrating the incident, how touts charge extra money from tourists, he said that in Calangute he witnessed that one person was charging Rs 3,000 for parasailing, which actually should be charged at Rs 800.

"They were doing it in front of me. I stopped that counter immediately. If the regulated system doesn't not come into force, it will create a major issue for the tourism sector," Khaunte said.

He reiterated that Goa is facing tough competition from Malvan and other places in water sports activities.

According to him, touts are the biggest problem in the area of tourism, who take maximum share and actual water sports operators get less money.

In November last year, while prohibiting unauthorised selling of water sports tickets, the Goa government had warned to take action on those who offer packages to tourists outside Goa in places like Malvan in Maharashtra and Karwar in Karnataka.

The order issued by the Tourism department stated that violators shall be punishable with fine of Rs 5,000, which may extend up to Rs 50,000 or shall be liable for action under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code.

Sources informed that some touts persuade tourists visiting beaches of Goa by offering them sea ride packages in neighbouring states.

Stating that Goa has challenges, in regards to tourism, from Sindhudurg belt (in Maharashtra) and from Karnataka border, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte had earlier said that his department is rightly putting steps to promote water sports and eradicate illegal touts, so no tourists are affected.

"If we don't act right, then we may suffer in regards to tourism. Tourists may start going to neighbouring states," Khaunte had said.

Khaunte on many occasions stated that he had put steps to eradicate touts and illegal activities from the beaches of Goa and tourism spots.



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