Discussion on LGBT tourism in Goa dropped

Goa, known for its famous beaches, attracts nearly 2.6 million tourists annually, of which nearly half a million are foreigners.

Panaji: In a moral victory to groups
opposing promotion of LGBT tourism in Goa, the state
government on Thursday announced the issue will not be part of an
international travel event beginning here from Friday.

Goa International Travel Mart (GITM) was supposed to
have a knowledge session on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transsexual) tourism, a trend which is emerging on the
international tourism scene.

However, Tourism Minister Nilkant Halarnkar said that
the session has been dropped respecting the people`s
sentiments. "We will not have the knowledge session on the
issue as it may not go down well with many people."

His statement came hours after an activist of a right
wing group filed a police complaint against GITM organisers.

Halarnkar the segment was never given a priority in Goa`s
tourism profile. "Officials wanted to create awareness about
this segment. But we don`t want to have any tourism which is
against people`s wish."

The government`s support for LGBT tourism during GITM was
opposed by right-wing groups, including Ramdev-led Bharat
Swabhiman Trust and also the power Goa church.

Dattaram Sawant, a member of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti,
had filed a criminal complaint against GITM organisers.

"The state has already been defamed as sex and drugs
destinations. We don`t want another tag," he said.

"Goa government has already allowed drug trafficking,
casinos and prostitution to grow. And now LGBT tourism. What
else remains to be invited to Goa," a spokesman of Bharat
Swabhiman Trust said.

Francisco Caldeira, a spokesman of Goa Church, said that
the state government should not orient itself towards this
kind of tourism.