In a move which could send wrong signals to Goa-bound vacationers, the state government on Thursday banned parties and celebrations on beaches and other open areas from December 23 to January 5 citing 'safety reasons'.
Home minister Ravi Naik told reporters after a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting that parties and celebrations inside hotels and other closed areas would be permitted. He further said that the ban was ordered following a recommendation by the CLP, which is headed by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.
"The CLP has recommended that the beach parties should not be allowed between December 23 and January 5 due to safety reasons and to avoid crowding on the beaches and open spaces," Naik said. "The hotels can hold their parties. The ban is on those events which are organised on beaches and open spaces," Naik said.
"The Collectors have been asked to draw up formal orders about the ban, which should be done by tomorrow," an official told IANS.
The CLP's decision comes on the heels of an extremely lean patch for the Goan tourism industry, which is reeling under the effects of global recession and the Mumbai terror strikes.
According to a recently circulated cabinet note and other intelligence inputs, Goa is also reported to be on the Al-Qaeda radar. The Goa Police have upped the security in the state by several degrees following the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.
During the festive week starting from Christmas to New Year, Goa is popular for beach parties which are a huge draw for tourists, as well as dances and jam sessions that are a rage with the Goan youth.
These essentially open air events during the latter part of the year, also form the backbone of the Goan entertainment industry, which will be severely affected by the decision.
Goa, which in the past saw nearly two million tourists flocking to its shore each tourist season, is witnessing its worst tourism season yet.