Photographers banned from Goa Beaches

If you have been to a Goa beach, you must have noticed the “freelance” photographers loitering on the beach, taking photographs of the tourists and locals and then trying to sell them back at Rs 50 to Rs 100 per photograph.

Thankfully, these photographers have now been banned by the Goa Tourism Department from disturbing the tourists. If caught, they face a huge penalty of Rs 10,000.

According to the Goa Tourism Department official, “There were lot of complaints against these photographers charging Rs 50-100 per picture. But the basic complaint against them was that they were loitering on the beaches without permission and disturbing the tourists,”.

However, these photographers not only are a nuisance to the tourists and local visitors alike, they are also a danger to the belongings of the tourists which are usually left on the beach while the tourists go into the water. 

It is time that we cleaned up our lovely beaches from illegal hawkers, vendors and photographers so that both the tourist and local visitors can enjoy their time on the beach without being disturbed.

Beach weddings take Goa by storm

Goa has always been a hot Honeymoon Destination but couples are suddenly deciding that it is also a great place to get married. And is there a more romantic setting to get married than at a Goan beach?

A spew of mega beach weddings are planned in Goa with already 10 beach weddings approved by the Goa Tourism department. Since beach weddings are considered “minor events” in Goa, all it takes to get permission is approval from the Goa Tourism Director and the payment of a fee of Rs. 5000 fee.

One of my close relatives got married in Goa recently and she was full of praise for the destination. While many people choose to get married in their home towns or cities, it has become quite the fashion to jet to Goa and get married there instead. Not just the couple and their families but relatives and friends make the trip too, often booking out the entire hotel.

That said, some couples prefer to stay at a different hotel than their friends and family. “We stayed at a small Homestay while our guests stayed at a big 5 star Hotel. We wanted to have our privacy and some time to ourselves” said the couple.

And it is not just the Goan beach that becoming a hot wedding destination but the Goan river as well. Goan ferry boats offer couples the once in a lifetime chance to get married on a boat. Larger than the usual ferry boats that transport locals across the Mandovi River and far more luxurious, these special ferry boats are big enough to hold between 50 to 100 people as well as a full fledged buffet and dance floor.

And as Goa becomes more and more popular as a wedding destination, you also have Wedding Planners who take care of the entire wedding hassle, leaving you free to enjoy your special day. All the girl has to do, it seems, is to get her man to pop the question!

Goa to get 35 lakh tourists this year, says minister

There is good news for Goa’s tourism industry.

Tourist numbers in Goa are expected to swell to 35 lakh during the forthcoming season, state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said Wednesday. The increase in tourist numbers is mainly due to the domestic tourists who have been visiting Goa. 

Annually, Goa attracts 22 lakh domestic visitors to its beaches and nightlife spots every year. Goa has already attracted over 16 lakh tourists and December would see the turnout double.

The minister has also predicted a rise of 50,000 in the number of foreign tourist arrivals this year to the 4.5 lakh foreign tourists who visit the state annually.

All in all, good news for an industry that is the basis for the livelihood of a large portion of the state’s population!

Take your rubbish back with you, a Goan Village tells tourists

Goa’s world famous beaches attract nearly 3 million tourists every year.

Unfortunately, however, most tourists throw their rubbish on the beach itself, leaving Goa’s beaches dirty and full of garbage. Calls by the Goa Tourism department and the Goa Government as well as the Goa Coast Guard seem to have no effect on the amount of garbage generated on Goa’s beaches. Which is why a Goa beach village has now come up with the unique idea of making tourists carry back the garbage that they generate while spending time on the beach. 

Betalbatim, a small Goan beach village around 30 km from Panaji (the capital of Goa) passed a resolution recently mandating that tourists who picnic or party on its beach would be given plastic bags and made to carry back their garbage with them. 

What seems quite a drastic measure is in fact a last ditch response to clean up Goa’s beaches. Goa’s overcrowded beaches and countryside have seen garbage piling up, with the state failing to put in place a proper and effective garbage disposal mechanism. Beer bottles, empty tetra packs and chips packets can be seen strewn across the sand, left behind by the tourists.

But it must be said, in all fairness, that there are no proper dustbins or proper garbage disposal containers for those tourists who want to be responsible. Neither the coastal village panchayats nor the tourism department is equipped to safely dispose of the garbage collected by sweepers.

Whether this move would actually prove effective in helping minimise the amount of garbage thrown on the beach is to be seen. Garbage is one of the most contentious issues facing the Goa Tourism department along with overcrowding of its beaches.

Unfortunately, garbage on beaches is not a problem faced by Goa alone. A quick google search for “garbage beach” throws up some shocking results of beaches flooded by garbage including the famous Brighton beach which had a whopping 23 tonnes of garbage. 

What Goa needs is more dustbins along the beach as well as a proper garbage collection system that ensures that the collected garbage does not remain on the beach for a prolonged period of time. Goa is also testing a mechanised beach cleaning system that will clean the beaches more effectively and faster than manual cleaning methods. 

But mechanised beach cleaning or not, it is up to each and every one of us who visits the beach to make sure that we take back all our rubbish with us, instead of leaving it on the beach for someone else to clean up!