Following a series of high-profile incidents involving tourist safety, Goa is aiming to reassure visitors with a range of enhanced security measures.
The Indian coastal state’s Tourism Minister, Manohar Azgaonkar, has outlined his priorities regarding tourist safety, including steps to help female travellers.
A special women’s helpline has been set up and two female-only police stations are now available to help women in distress. Likewise, a taxi service exclusively for female travellers is now operational.
“We have set the agenda for tourism in Goa, with safety and security of tourist being the number one priority for the tourism department. The Goa government… is augmenting budgets for improving safety and security measures in the state keeping in mind the tourism industry and the importance of providing a safe holiday for tourists visiting Goa,” the minister said.
In addition to safety measures for female travellers, Goa is aiming to tighten up security in other areas. New security processes have been implemented at Goa’s Dabolim International Airport and at the state’s borders. Additional CCTV has also been installed in key tourist locations and extra security officers and lifeguards are now on duty across Goa.
The 600+ lifeguards have reportedly rescued “hundreds of tourists”, and beach patrols are now ongoing until midnight to guard against night swimming. CCTV will also be made mandatory for all beach shacks.
“We have never compromised on tourist safety in Goa. Every year the focus is on stepping up these measures and all agencies involved in this are doing their best to ensure that tourists have a safe holiday in Goa,” said Nilesh Cabral, chairman of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC).
Goa welcomed a total of 6.3 million visitors in 2016, 680,000 of whom were international tourists. However British newspaper The Guardian reported recently that 245 tourists have died in Goa in the last 12 years. These included the high-profile murders of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling in 2008 and Danielle McLaughlin in February.