Goa allocates Rs.5 crore for safety of tourists

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 25, 2010 17:40 hrs

Concerned about the safety of tourists visiting Goa, in the wake of recent high-profile crimes against foreigners, the Goa government has allocated Rs.5 crore in its annual budget towards setting up a 'beach safety management system'.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, also the finance minister, in his budget speech in the Goa legislative assembly said that at least 1,000 Goan youth would be recruited under public-private participation (PPP) for the purpose.

'My government desires to take up confidence building measures by enhancing security of tourists... Accordingly a provision of Rs.500 lakh (Rs.5 crore) is made in the budget 2010-11,' Kamat said.

Safety of tourists in the state has been a major area of concern, with a significant rise in the numerous instances of attacks on tourists being reported here.

The rape and murder of 15-year-old British teenager Scarlett Keeling in 2008 and the subsequent rapes and body crimes against Russian tourists, had also put the issue of safety of tourists in Goa under the spotlight.

After threats by Russian embassy officials to issue an adverse travel advisory and personal intervention of the union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, the Goa government was forced to expedite the process of setting up a tourist security force, manned by ex servicemen.

The Goa government has already put in place an advanced beach safety management system in order to save tourists from drowning off the shores of Goa, by privatizing beach lifeguard services.

Goa receives 2.4 million tourists annually, nearly half a million of whom are foreigners.