59 Britons have died in Goa since 2009
The highest number of deaths of British tourists in Goa was recorded in 2009 (14), 2010 (13) and 2016 (12), according to the latest figures from the UK Foreign Office.world Updated: Sep 05, 2017 18:58 IST
One of the highest number of deaths of British nationals in Goa was recorded in 2016 – 12 – taking to 59 the total number of deaths since 2009 in the popular Indian tourist resort, according to official figures released on Tuesday.
Goa has often featured in the British media not only for its famed beaches, 'susegad' or easy and relaxed approach to life and culture, but also for the death of Britons, such as teenager Scarlett Keeling in 2008 and Danielle McLaughlin in March.
According to the Foreign Office, the number of British tourists who died in Goa was the highest in 2009 (14), 2010 (13) and 2016 (12). It added that it did not have information on successful prosecutions for the deaths.
Family members of those who died in Goa have expressed frustration and disappointment at the justice system, especially when suspects were reportedly freed. Some of them approached chief minister Manohar Parrikar for justice and for enhanced safety of tourists.
The Foreign Office says more than 800,000 British nationals visit India every year and most visits are trouble-free. But given growing concerns and the number of incidents, it has a separate section on Goa in its travel advice.
“British women have been the victims of sexual assault in Goa…Be wary of confidence tricksters, particularly in Goa, Agra and Jaipur, who promise large amounts of cash for delivery of jewellery abroad in return for an initial deposit. The jewellery is worthless and the deposit, often amounting to thousands of pounds, is lost,” the section states.
British nationals are also advised in the Goa section to observe and respect local dress and customs, taking particular care of bags and purses, and avoiding unlit and remote beaches in the state.
“Don’t leave your drinks unattended. There have been reports of drinks being spiked and travellers, including British nationals, subsequently being robbed or assaulted. You should follow warnings posted at beaches and instructions issued by lifeguards. Every year several people drown due to the strong currents in the sea. Emergency service standards may differ from those in the UK,” it states.
“Road traffic accidents are common and many fatal accidents occur each year. Wear a good quality helmet if renting a motorcycle or scooter. Possession or consumption of drugs is illegal. If arrested, you may be incarcerated for several years whilst your case comes to trial, and a conviction for either offence may lead to a very long prison sentence,” the travel advice adds.