Tourism industry worried about Russian mafia

pti, panaji | 19 February 2010 22:48 IST

The tourism industry in Goa has expressed concern over the increasing influence of Russian mafia in the state in near future, if it escalates.

“The Russian mafia has not affected state’s image yet. But if it escalates, then it will certainly affect,” Ralph D’Souza, President of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) told reporters here.

Responding to a question, he admitted that the fights between two drug groups or similar instances will leave an impact on state’s tourism graph.

TTAG, an umbrella organisation of tour operators in Goa, also expressed its anguish over beggars’ and hawkers’ menace on the state’s coast, who bugs the guest every five minutes.

“Trainload of beggars arrives in the state little before the first charter flight arrives and disappear after the last flight leaves the state,” D’Souza observed, hinting at the organized bagging syndicate.

“Some beggars offer massage, some sell various items. There are beach boys who tell you about massage parlours. In the entire confusion of beggars and hawkers, the criminals thrive,” he alleged.

“Half of the problems will get over if we get rid of the beggars and hawkers,” the TTAG feels.

Even though begging is illegal, the activity happens right in the presence of police, indicating a strong nexus, D’Souza added.

The industry players have said that the proposed Goa tourism security oraganisation, a force comprising ex-servicemen, will deal with these issues.

“We are suggesting to the government that the D’Souza added.

Goa government has accorded administrative approval for this force, which will aide existing lifeguards in manning the beaches. The state attracts around 24 lakh tourists every year, including four lakh foreigners.

D’Souza said even though there is decrease in the foreign travelers visiting the state, the percentage of domestic travelers is up by 15 per cent.

“But this will not increase the revenues as the domestic travelers are in Goa for three days while foreign visitors are on a three-week vacation,” he explained.

Goa annually earns revenue to the tune of Rs 850 crore in various forms of taxes generated from tourism activities.

“This year, the revenue will be dipped,” D’Souza said, refusing to quantify the slump.

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Previous Comments

I am not surprised. Many a years ago, when we visited Goa, Calangute I think it was, a local came and abused me coz I sat in an area on the beach where the majority were white people, he said, Goa is not India. And he made sure we all felt uncomfortable. This was bound to happen, when our own treat us like shit, and white's like god's, they will take over. Now suffer.

- AR, SFO | 13 th September 2013 22:16

 

There is no point blaming the Russians for their large scale onslaught of Goa. The politicians and the Goan police have created an atmosphere for the Russians to do as they please. If the local people do not stand up to this unacceptable behaviour and of corrupting their culture, Goa - a beautiful destination will be lost forever.

The Russians have taken over most popular beach destinations the world over. They are in huge numbers on the Gold Coast in Australia buying up property and pushing prices up and out of the reach of local Australians.

Again who is to blame but local government and regulators who make this all possible.

- Cairns Student, Cairns | 25 th April 2010 08:32

 

Goa will regain its past glory when TTAG and Russian honeymoon ends. Tourist taxis are always blamed by TTAG, who want to totally push local taxi guys out of business. TTAG with Russian touts do illegal business to compete with local taxi and say local taxis are expensive. Do a simple calculation. Consider a short trip to Old Goa in a Toyota Inova, where the tour agent and illegal touts charge each passenger, a minimum US$ 65/-, (that too different tour operators have different rates depending on their flattery.) US$65/- X 6 passengers in one Inova which is equal to US$ 390/- x Rs. 45 per US$ = Rs.17550/- where as a local tourist taxi ferries the same above trip for only Rs. 1200/- for all passengers as against Rs. 17550/- charged by tour agent.

- Savio diaz, Goa | 29 th March 2010 19:07

 

I agree with both of you. Russians are getting more and more on our beautiful beaches and acting like they are Goans and we are like tourists. So we have to save our beautiful GOA.

- joseph ferns, Goan from uae | 16 th March 2010 00:52

 

I agree with Anne Anderson. The Russians are getting a nuisance around the beaches of Goa and so they are everywhere in the world. Please stop the influx of the Russians and leave the locals at peace too - Menino (Valpoi)

- Menino G. P. T. Fernandes (Valpoi/UK), United Kingdom of Great Britain | 15 th March 2010 18:14

 

I was a tourist in Goa for the whole month of January. I love the people there, BUT, one thing almost ruined my holiday. I felt that i was in Russia and Goans were guest workers there. It was the same all along the coast, so next time i dont think i will go to Goa. It's sad, but true. The Russians scare away the tourists from Scandinavia. Do something about it, because i would love to come back, but whithout having the feeling that I am in Russia.

- Anne Andersen, norway | 15 th March 2010 15:38

 

Today it is the Russian Mafia, tomorrow it would be some other Mafia! It would be interesting to know as to how many tourists really come to Goa for looking at the temples and the churches!

Even a small kid knows that tourism brings with it all the other issues of prostitution, drug peddling, drug trafficking, gambling and liquor consumption!

We should also be ready to welcome our younger generation getting exposed to AIDS menace! If you study the tourist spots world over, the veracity of this can be easily understood! Don't shed crocodile tears! They are of no use!

- Vishwas Prabhudesai, Loliem | 23 rd February 2010 15:36

 

Hey Mr. Ralph D'souza , you look to be very excited, nowadays in raising issues frequently....... hey boy! Must be doing a good job, isn't it?

Before you try solving these problems, just book atleast 10 empty trains , 100 buses and 1000 volunters and 10000 police force to SHIFT or transfer them OUT of GOA and GOAN BEACHES. Because most of them are RELATED to some GOAN Politicians.

And second thing is that.... baba, you want to protect the foreigners from beggars and hawkers? Just PROTECT them FIRST from POLITICIANS and then take the next step.......

And don't get worried about LOCALS (especially Morjim..). They will be Protected by RUSSIANS..... demonstration already finished by providing protection to the taxi driver. You People just watch and see..... till ONE day when RUSSIANS turn to LOCALS and LOCALS turn to RUSSIANS.

- Joe Ganja, Overseas | 22 nd February 2010 16:56

 

This year I have noticed more Russians, who do not pay for a visa like us. I have witnessed indecent behaviour on the beach with the female Russians, drunken behaviour by the men, and it was stated in the newspapers a Russian man beat to death a Goan taxi driver.

This behaviour is not what foreign visitors or the lovely people of Goa want.

I feel the police should be tackling this matter, and the Goans I talked to agreed.

Some taxi drivers were giving leaflets, saying that picking them up in there taxis should be avoided.

- Diane, London | 22 nd February 2010 13:07

 

We need to identify the real "enemy" here....the easiest target would be the beggars and hawkers....but I'm a tad confused here...exactly "HOW" will this help in tackling the drug and prostitution mafia?

- Anita Haladi, Caranzalem | 21 st February 2010 21:20

 

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