Tourism industry hopes for best as tar invades Goa beaches


Panaji : The tourism industry in Goa has its fingers crossed for the forthcoming season as wave after wave of messy tar balls have begun invading the state’s beaches, covering the coastline in semi-solid, smudgy layers of dark slime.

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Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Gaurish Dhond has appealed to the media to play down the story, which according to him had the potential to damage the tourism prospects of the state during the season beginning October.

“This should not have happened. It is a bad incident. Now the news will go out through everywhere with you all nationally, internationally. And then you will have television channels descending in Goa saying how bad things are,” Dhond told IANS.

“That will not be good for tourism in Goa,” said the president of TTAG, which has been the voice of tourism and travel industry stakeholders for the last few decades.

The tourism industry in Goa has already been smarting from bad publicity in the national and the international media for the last couple of years — starting with the tragic death of British teenager Scarlett Keeling who was allegedly drugged, sexually assaulted and left to die and other similar cases dealing with crimes against foreign women tourists.

“The government is taking due steps. The tourism department has started acting. There are still two months for the season to start. The charter flights begin to arrive in October. We have sufficient time,” Dhond said.

Tonnes of slimy tar balls have polluted the Goa coastline even as state authorities started an extensive operation to clean the beaches, known for attracting nearly two million tourists to the state.

According to the marine experts, one of the common causes for the tar ball phenomenon is careless dumping of used oil by a passing ship off the state’s coast.