Law banning open drinking, cooking on Goa beaches passed by assembly
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Law banning open drinking, cooking on Goa beaches passed by assembly

Under the new amendment, violators will be fined Rs 2,000, and if the violation is committed by more than one person, the group will have to pay Rs 10,000. There are, however, no penal provisions in the new law.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2019 21:54 IST
Gerard de Souza
Gerard de Souza
Hindustan Times, Panaji
Goa,beaches,open drinking banned
The Goa- assembly today passed a bill banning open drinking or cooking on the state’s beaches (File Photo)(HT Photo)

The Goa assembly today passed a bill amending a state tourism law which now will make drinking alcohol, cooking and littering in tourist places a criminal offence.

In addition, stores selling alcohol in tourist places have been barred from allowing customers to carry away bottles or cans containing liquor.

The amendments to the Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001, which were approved by the state Cabinet last week, have now been sent for the governor’s assent. Under the new amendment, violators will be fined Rs 2,000, and if the violation is committed by more than one person, the group will have to pay Rs 10,000. There are, however, no penal provisions in the new law.

The Goa Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) has welcomed the passing of the bill but cautioned that failure to implement the law would defeat the purpose.

“We are happy that this bill is passed, but the question is who will implement it. Failure to implement it will be back to square one,” Savio Messias, the president of Goa’s apex hospitality industry body, said.

The TTAG has earlier voiced concern over the failure of the government to crack down on drunken behaviour mostly by male tourists who they say create a ruckus and drive other ‘good tourists’ away.

It had also flagged the growing disparity in the ratio of foreign tourists to domestic tourists. Six years ago, foreign tourists comprised 20% of Goa’s total tourism inflow but now the figure has halved to 10%. The foreign tourist is the more lucrative footfall as, according to figures by the tourism department, they stay for nine days on an average, but the average domestic tourist stays for five days.

“We need to control domestic tourism to manageable levels so as not to destroy our hospitable culture and environment. We need to keep the balance between the number of domestic tourists and international tourists. The challenge is to reinvent tourism and reposition Goa to appeal to the discerning traveller,” Messias had said.

Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo had earlier this month said that there was no point promoting Goa in international markets only to show the tourists drunkenness and garbage.

“Stop people drinking on the footpath, on the promenades, on the beaches, breaking bottles. The minute you stop this you will see that this crowd will stop coming to Goa. They don’t want to drink in a shack or a restaurant, because they know it is expensive. They just want to buy and come on the beach and get drunk and look at women,” he said.

The Congress, meanwhile, has said that laws alone will not solve the problem. “We have enough laws. But we have to see the kind of tourist destination Goa is being promoted as. The onus is on the government to bring the right kind of tourists,” it’s state president Girish Chodankar said.

Goa received 80 lakh tourists in 2018 -- more than five times its population.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 21:20 IST