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Goa emerging as drug, sex destination, says industry

Panaji, Feb 24 (IANS)

Goa is emerging as a drug and sex destination, the state's apex commerce and industry lobbying group has said.

The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has issued strict caution to the state government, asking it to shore up its act on tourism, in a pre budget note which was handed over to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Tuesday.

"Tourism in Goa of late is getting a bad name with Goa slowly emerging as a drug and sex destination," GCCI president Cesar Menezes said in the pre budget note. Lamenting the fact that Goa's top grossing industry was lying in shambles, Menezes said that much needed to be done on the tourism front to save the sector from doom.

"There is no basic tourism and entertainment infrastructure in the state. Problems of law and order and garbage will spell doom for state tourism," he said.


He has also advocated encouragement of private participation in the development of tourism related infrastructure in Goa.

Industry stalwarts like travel and tourism association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph de Souza have already said that the bogey of the Russian mafia in Goa could spell disaster for tourism in the state in the near future.

Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco had earlier said Goa was on its way to becoming the rape capital of India.

Increasing crimes against tourists in recent times, beginning with the rape and murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling, has put the international spotlight on Goa.

The recent rape of a nine-year-old Russian girl Jan 26 triggered a nationwide media debate on the safety of women tourists in Goa. A 25-year-old Russian woman was allegedly raped by a Goan politician in December last year.

Police have also been unable to crack the mysterious death of Russian teenager Elena Sukhonova, whose mangled body was found on the railway tracks near Thivim, 25 km from Panaji.

Goa receives nearly two million tourists annually, nearly half a million of which are foreigners.

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