The Government of Goa notification issued on October 31, 2022, prohibiting cooking in open spaces and drinking on beaches has been welcomed by foreigners visiting Goa and many locals who saw rules of etiquette being obliterated mainly due to the tolerance of such behaviour. However, the Tourism Department has to first propagate the rules properly before implementation.
The Department of Tourism through its notification has banned:
1. Operations of all boating/watersports activities from areas not demarcated to carry out such activities.
2. Process of cooking food in open spaces and littering in places of tourist importance.
3. Activities of touting /selling cruise tickets and other tickets related to tourist activities.
4. Activities involving begging for alms in tourist places and causing a nuisance to the public.
5. Sale of goods from/by unauthorised handicraftsmen and hawkers.
6. Hawkers impeding free movement of tourists.
7. Unauthorised selling of watersports tickets/packages
8. Illegal placement of deck beds.
9. Driving of unauthorised vehicles on beaches.
10. Consumption of liquor in the open and breaking of glass bottles in tourist places.
“Goa was such a beautiful place when I first came. I am seeing a terrible change now and, without being disrespectful, I think it is because the tourists visiting Goa today are responsible for this mess. It is good that the new measures have been put in place, but their implementation is very important,” stated Patrizia Moriarti from Italy, who first visited Goa 30 years back.
“Today, lying on the beach to get a tan is a problem because one does not know when one can be run over by a vehicle. Driving on the beach, and roughly too, is the new norm, and I hope the government will be strict about people driving on the beach,” says Patrizia, who frequents the northern coastal belt of Goa.
Goa has seen a decline in foreign visitors since the pandemic, with tourists from India being the mainstay of tourism. High-end, middle and low-end Indian tourists have been goa tourism’s respite from a complete economic disaster during the pandemic.
“Tourism saved many of us during the pandemic because ours was the first to open up as the crackdown to save us from COVID started. There may have been a few sectors in the industry that did not benefit, especially those catering to charter tourists, but the rest did well with Indian tourists keeping us going,” stated Mario, who operates a wine shop in Calangute.
“I sell my booze, but I cannot be telling my client how to drink. It is good that the government has come up with the policy. The policy should be notified properly so that tourists are aware of the new rules and then its implementation,” added Mario.
People not complying with the Tourism Department notification can receive a fine of Rs 5000 to Rs 50,000 or will be liable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
While Goa welcomed tourists from different states of India, the incidents of vehicles being driven haphazardly on beaches and the number of casualties related to tourism also increased, with the cases of two high-end vehicles becoming stuck on the beach and a ruling party spokesperson losing her life, opening the eyes of authorities in the Tourism Department.
“The government has its role to play, and tourists equally have their role to play. This new policy will be a success if both work in tandem,” concludes Mario.