Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar strongly stated that those who don’t respect the spirit of “Goanness” will no longer be welcome in the state
In yet another controversial remark against tourists by a Goa minister, the state’s Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar threatened to chase away tourists who don’t respect the Goan culture.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Goa Food and Cultural Festival in Panaji on Saturday, Ajgaonkar strongly stated that those who don’t respect the spirit of “Goanness” will no longer be welcome in the coastal state.
“The tourists who come here should take care of Goa’s culture and Goanness, otherwise I will chase them away. I will not listen to anyone. I am saying this clearly,” he said.
Emphasising the need to preserve Goa’s culture, Ajagaonkar – a legislator from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), an ally of the BJP in the state – said, “We don’t want tourists who sell drugs, we do not want hotels which sell drugs.”
The Tourism Minister’s controversial remarks came after another Goa minister on Friday termed domestic tourists arriving in the state as “scum of the earth”.
Earlier on Friday, Goa Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai claimed that tourists, especially from North India, wanted to “create Haryana in Goa”. He was quoted saying, “We are dependent on north Indians and this is what they do. They are not bothered about Goa. They will like to recreate a Haryana in Goa.”
However, in an apologetic tone, a day after his remarks, Sardesai said that a video of a tourist urinating from a bus prompted his ‘scum’ comment. Claiming that he was quoted out of context, the Goa minister said that he referred to only a “certain section of them, not all”.
Stating that the people of Goa are “disgusted with a few tourists, who come and use Goa as a dumping ground”, he said, “There are several instances, one of which is a video which has gone viral of a tourist urinating from the bus on one of Goa’s most popular and well done roads from Miramar to Dona Paula.”
Further posting a video on Twitter, Sardesai added, “I haven’t generalised or have been xenophobic. I am speaking for the people of Goa. A small section of 6.5 million tourists who came to Goa have created the biggest nuisance. These people have no civic sense.”
According to Goa’s tourism department’s data, there had been a sharp 19.50 per cent rise in the number of domestic tourists in 2016 – with the approximate number of total tourists being 63 lakh, of which the number of domestic tourists was 56 lakh.