Goa Government seeks to regulate eco-tourism

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The Goa Government today introduced a Bill in the Assembly to regulate uncontrolled water sports and eco-tourism activities in the state. The Goa Registration of Tourist Trade (Amendment) Bill 2011, was introduced by Tourism Minister Nilkant Halarnkar. The Bill also seeks to ban travel agents to function as recruitment agents in absence of a proper certificate from the registering authority under the Emigration Act, 1983. It prescribes increase in the penalty to Rs 1 lakh from current Rs 10,000 for violation of the Act. The proposed law seeks to impose stringent control over several tourism sector-related activities. It covers activities like spice farm tourism, water sports, tour operators, among others, which were till now outside the purview of the Tourism Department. Introducing the Bill, Halarnkar said there has been uncontrolled and unregulated operation of activities by tour operators, water sports operators and others. “The persons having spice plantations in the state regularly receive tourists on monetary consideration and often temporary huts are provided to them for stay without any registration and documentation,” according to the Bill. Halarnkar said the proposed law will regulate all such activities. The Government also sought to curb tour operators, who were doubling up as recruitment agents. The Bill seeks to bring restrictions on travel agents who also function as recruiting agents.

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