Cooking in open by tourists groups banned in Goa: Minister

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Panaji:  After announcing a ban on swimming on Goa’s beaches after sunset, a meeting of tourism industry stakeholders chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday, ordered the police to crackdown on cooking in public by tourist groups, claiming it was unhygienic and resulted in garbage being strewn in public areas.

Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar told IANS that at the meeting, which comprised of representatives from state government agencies, as well as tourism and travel industry stakeholders, a decision was also taken to undertake a massive awareness drive to make tourists aware of the perils of swimming in the sea after sunset.

“Cooking in the open by groups of tourists is an eyesore. It creates disturbance and garbage which is left unattended. We have instructed police to crack down on groups of tourists who travel by buses and cooking gear and then cook in the open for their meals,” he said.

Tourists travelling in buses on shoe-string budgets are regularly seen along coastal parts of the state cooking their meals in the open, something the tourism industry stakeholders have complained in the past about, claiming such low-budget tourism doesn’t bring in revenue to the state exchequer and at the same time ruins the aesthetics of the countryside.

“The sooner this is stopped the better. We have received a lot of complaints,” Ajgaonkar said.

The Tourism Minister also said that the Chief Minister had repeated his resolve to come up with a law to ban swimming after sunset, even as the state saw as many as five deaths over the last few days, due to tourists venturing the sea after sunset.

“We will also conduct an awareness drive, where tourists will be given pamphlets asking them not swim after sunset. The pamphlet will be given to tourists at border check-points, at hotels, restaurants and shacks,” Ajgaonkar said.

Goa is one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country and attracts more than six million tourists every year.

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