Goa: Tourism department takes over water sports management

Goa: Tourism department takes over water sports management

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To bring some order in the functioning of water sports operators, beginning next tourism season – October 2014 – the tourism department through Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC) will operate all the water sports booths in the state.

The booths run by GTDC will issue tickets, maintain the queue system and control sport activities. The decision has been taken in view of complaints against water sports operators that they don’t follow a queue system.

The new water sports policy of the government will also be implemented from the next season. Tourism officials say that despite their directive, water sports operators operating from popular beaches in the state reluctantly, follow the queue system.

During the last two years, although the queue system is being followed, there have been constant fights among the operators. The tourism department has been in receipt of many such complaints. Also, many complaints were about irregularities against water sports operators, alleging that safety measures are not followed as most of the boats are overcrowded and expose passengers on-board to danger.

Also, two writ petitions were also filed in the high court seeking directions to tourism department to intervene in the interest of safety of the tourists.

Nikhil Desai, director, tourism department, in the affidavit filed before the high court, said GTDC would undertake operations of water sport booths, but only from the next season. This is because the process of taking over of the queue system from the water sports associations will take some time as all the necessary infrastructure will have to be created as also additional staff will have to be employed to maintain the water sports booths.

The tourism department has moved the proposal to the government for taking over the queue system from the water sports association from ongoing season itself, Desai had stated in his affidavit filed in the high court.

There are over a thousand water sports operators operating from various beach stretches but North Goa beaches Calangute, Baga, Sinquerim and Candolim are most crowded. Touts also move around tapping customers.

One of the IRB personnel posted at Calangute beach stretch, said the presence of touts has reduced to a large extent after they started patrolling on the beaches. “Otherwise it was a common site, touts haggling with tourists over rates,” he said.

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