Goa to banish 'bikini babes' from ads

"Goa is a family holiday destination and not sex tourism destination. We will make sure that bikini babes do not symbolise Goa tourism in future," state Tourism Minister Fransisco Pacheco told PTI today.

He said the tourism department will ask all empanelled advertisement agencies to desist from using scantily-clad women in their campaigns. "The department has already stopped such ads but I will make sure that henceforth all advertisements are scrutinised by the department before being sent for printing," Pacheco said.

The Tourism Minister expressed concern over the recent incidents of rape in the state which, he said, had given a bad name to Goa, one of the most favoured tourist destinations for both Indian and foreign tourists. Pacheco said that he will also ask all tour operators, including private players, to follow the guidelines on advertisements to help improve the state's image.

Stating that foreigners sunbathing on the beaches in bikini should not be misconstrued as promoting sex tourism, he said, "can you ask someone to be fully dressed and take a bath? Naturally, they will venture into the sea in bikini and later soak in the sun."

Referring to the alleged rape of a 25-year-old Russian woman, Pacheco said media reports dubbing accused John Fernandes as a senior politician were incorrect.

"John has fought assembly election once and lost. He has never been a leader and never won even a panchayat poll," the minister said. Pacheco said reports of a politician raping a tourist raised doubts about state's security environment. About Home Minister Ravi Naik's contention that tourists brought in drugs to the state, Pacheco said, "Tourism department has no infrastructure to keep a check on such activities. It is the home department's job. If there are tourists carrying drugs they should be booked."

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