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Goa welcomes tourism code

Panaji, July 3 (IANS) The Goa government and the tourism industry in the state have welcomed the code of conduct for safe and honourable tourism announced by the central government earlier this week.

The code of conduct applicable to both tourists and local residents has a special significance to Goa, a popular beach tourism destination, which has in the recent past been in the news for crimes against foreign tourists, especially women.

‘The code of conduct is a welcome sign for tourism in Goa. We had published a do’s and don’ts booklet sometime back. This code is an extension of that effort,’ Swapnil Naik, director of tourism told IANS Friday.

The code of conduct is applicable to owners, suppliers, contractors and employees of the travel and tour sector including hotels, restaurants, lodges, guest houses, tour agents, entertainment establishments and service providers.

When asked if the code announced by union Minister of Tourism Kumari Selja would discourage tourists from coming to Goa, Naik said: ‘Not at all. These are basic things which we would follow, if we were tourists in another country.’

President of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) Gaurish Dhond said he was yet to read the code of conduct threadbare but such a set of guidelines was the need of the hour.

‘We need to have such safety codes in place. It is certainly a much awaited gesture by the union ministry of tourism. We welcome it,’ Dhond said.

‘The code of conduct is applicable throughout the nation. Nothing can deter a tourist from coming to Goa. One or two incidents will not harm Goa’s image,’ Dhond said, when asked if strict imposition of the code would affect tourism in Goa.

The code which was formally announced by Tourism Minister Kumari Selja Thursday aims at strengthening safety and ensuring that international standards of safe tourism practices, applicable for both tourists and local residents, are followed.

The code contains guidelines to encourage tourism with respect for basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents.

It also recommends stringent measures against involuntary drug abuse, manipulated and incorrect information and cultural and social intolerance that increases vulnerability to crime.

According to Selja, the guidelines will assist in preventing prostitution, sex tourism and other forms of sexual exploitation like assault and molestation and safeguard women and children.

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