Goa year-end beach parties banned after Mumbai attacks

26th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The decision, after several days of uncertainty, is a blow to the former Portuguese colony, whose year-end parties are a big draw for foreign visitors.

Panaji -- Beach parties in the Indian resort state of Goa are to be banned over the Christmas and New Year because of security fears following the Mumbai attacks, the authorities here said.

"Taking into consideration all the aspects, we have decided that beach parties would not be allowed from December 23 to January 5," Goa chief minister Digamber Kamat told reporters outside his official residence.

The decision, after several days of uncertainty, is a blow to the former Portuguese colony, whose year-end parties are a big draw for foreign visitors.

Goa's reputation has suffered this year after a string of high-profile crimes, including the death of a British teenager, which lifted the lid on a culture of drink and drugs and prompted concerns about safety.

Kamat's ruling following a high-level review of security with state home minister Ravi Naik.

Naik said all other festivities and celebrations would continue, assuring visitors that there was no cause for concern.

"There is no ban for the functions in the hotels. Also the traditional celebrations will go on uninterrupted," he added.

Some 2.6 million tourists visit Goa each year, including about 400,000 foreign visitors from colder climes keen to soak up winter sun on the state's long, sandy beaches.

Tourist arrivals have fallen 20 percent since last month's Mumbai attacks, which killed 172, including nine of the 10 gunmen, the president of the Tour and Travel Association of Goa, Ralf D'Souza, said earlier this week.

A number of foreign governments, including Britain, Australia and the United States, amended their travel advice for India in the wake of the attacks, while Israel and Russia warned their nationals to stay away.

Israel said year-end celebrations "could be the target of attacks by Islamist extremists".

AFP/Expatica

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