PANAJI: When in Rome, you can do as the Romans do, but in Goa you better do what the government tells you to. And this is for your safety, the Goa government plans to tell foreign tourists flocking to the state.
If they notice the sale of drugs or any pedophile activity, foreign tourists should inform the nearest police station. This is just one in the long list of ‘dos’ prescribed for them that will soon be displayed on hoardings at tourist hot spots.
Though none of these dos and don’ts are new, they will now be displayed prominently at beaches frequented by foreigners in North Goa and outside hotels in the coastal areas. Every police station will have to ensure that the hoardings are displayed in their jurisdiction before August 31.
This move follows the Scarlett Keeling episode as well as reports of attacks on Russians.
Top police officials this was being done at the instructions of IGP Kishan Kumar. “This is to ensure the safety and security of all tourists who visit Goa. At the moment this is one of our main concerns,” said acting IGP Ravindra Singh Yadav.
The dos for foreigners are simple: they need to register themselves with the Foreigner’s Registration Office if their visa permits a stay of over 180 days, employ only tourist guides registered with the tourism department and ensure that the ‘C’ form is filled by the hotels and sent to the nearest police station.
There are some six don’ts for foreigners, the most important one being, ‘don’t indulge in trade/consumption of narcotic drugs or any pedophile activity’. The other dont’s are: do not move alone in isolated places and beaches late at night, do not to seek lifts from strangers, do not overstay after expiry of visa, do not drive a vehicle without valid international driving license and do not indulge in business or commercial activity if on a tourist visa.
The tourism industry has welcomed the move. “It should be a joint effort of the police and the tourism sector to ensure that the law is followed. If asked, we will circulate the dos and don’ts amongst our members,” said Ralph de Souza, president, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa.
Goa’s reputation as a safe tourist destination took a beating after the rape and murder of 15-year-old Scarlet Keeling in February. There are also allegations of foreigners indulging in illegal businesses and overstaying. Goa is highly popular with British and Russian tourists, who make up for the bulk of foreign tourists visiting the state.