The recent fiasco at the Mormugao cruise terminal has cast Goa in bad light at the global level. The unwanted confusion and miscommunication between taxi operators and authorities leading to inconvenience to the American tourists has now started to produce a chain reaction in the cruise tourism sector globally.
As per reliable sources, it is learnt that around three cruise liners, of which some are French cruise ships which were supposed to come to Mormugao Port, have now decided to blacklist Goa in terms of cruise tourism.
A cruise line company representative on the condition of anonymity informed us that around three international cruise liners have decided to drop Goa from their tour destination, considering the ill-treatment given to the US tourists and the hooliganism exhibited by the local taxi operators on Wednesday.
He said that there are confidence-building efforts from the government’s side to regain the trust of the cruise line companies. CM Dr Pramod Sawant also tried to contact some cruise line companies that were trying to cancel their tours to Goa and assured them of good hospitality in Goa.
On Thursday evening, Superintendent of Police, South Goa, Abhishek Dhania held a joint meeting with stakeholders at Mormugao police station where the local taxi operators from Mormugao were also present.
SP Dhania later informed the media that the state government and the Goa police will not tolerate any hooliganism and hostile behaviour by anybody, including the local taxi mafia, with the tourists.
He also mentioned that any distress call by tourists will be attended to by the police sub-inspector ranked police and above. During the next cruise ship arrival, police will remain present at the cruise terminal and will monitor the movement there.
On Friday morning, the Mormugao BJP MLA Sankalp Amonkar briefed the media along with the block-level BJP leader on the cruise terminal fiasco. Amonkar took responsibility for the incident and rendered his apology to the US tourists who went through an unacceptable and unpleasant experience in Mormugao.
Amonkar further gave the assurance that henceforth these sort of incidents would not repeat, and he would personally monitor the smooth functioning of the cruise terminal. He also mentioned that the Wednesday incident happened due to the confusion caused by the miscommunication between the taxi operators and other stakeholders of cruise liner tourism.
When contacted, Jerome Clemente, the senior deputy traffic manager of Mormugao Port Authority, told us that so far, officially, MPA has not received any information on the cancellations of cruise liners. But he quickly added that the recent ill treatment mete out to the US nationals at the Mormugao cruise terminal by local taxi operators will have serious repercussions internationally. Those were high-end US tourists who are going to share their bitter experience in their homeland, and this might sour the relations between the two nations.
He further added that MPA expects that in the near future such unacceptable incidents must not be repeated. The steps for damage control taken by the chief minister and the tourism minister of Goa will help in some way to repair the image of Goa which has been tarnished by the recent incident.
Meanwhile, on Friday, during one function, Vasco MLA Krishna Salkar condemned the action of taxi operators at the Mormugao cruise terminal and said that local taxi operators should have treated the American tourists well since Indians hold fast to the concept of Atithi Devo Bhava which means “the guest is equivalent to God”. The recent incident which happened on the cruise terminal, wherein the American tourists had to suffer, has sent the wrong message about Goa all over the world.
Meanwhile, On Friday afternoon, a joint meeting by the South Goa Collector Jyoti Kumari was called in, at which Mormugao MLA Sankalp Amonkar, South Goa SP Abhishek Dhania and other authorities were present. Amonkar later told the media that the meeting was related to the same incident at the cruise terminal, and he apologised and guaranteed that such a thing would not repeat again at the cruise terminal.