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Russian, Israeli tourists more of menace to Goa: Faleiro

Wednesday August 15, 2012 01:14:24 AM, IANS

Panaji: Tourists from Russia and Israel to India cause more menace than benefit to the tourism scenario in Goa, a former union minister of state for external affairs said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Congressman Eduardo Faleiro said that the Goa government should probe Russians settled in Goa to see if they have mafia links, as well as check the "enormous damage" caused to Goa's social-cultural fabric by Israeli tourists.

"Russians have large properties in the coastal belt, some in benami names. There are cases of human trafficking as well as other anti-social activities they indulge in. The government should probe all this," Faleiro said.

Faleiro's comments come within a week after Russian Consul General Alexey Novikov denied the presence of Russian mafia in Goa, calling it an "absolute lie".

"You cannot term them as members of a mafia. There are bad people in every community," Novikov said Friday.

Faleiro also trained his guns on young Israeli tourists, several thousand of whom holiday in Goa, after a compulsory stint in Israel's armed forces.

"There is abundant evidence that Israeli tourists cause enormous damage to the social and cultural fabric of our state. They do not contribute to the Goan economy. They want to derive maximum benefit from minimum expenditure," Faleiro said.

The Church in Goa in the past has also lashed out against the Israeli tourists holidaying in Goa. A church authorised survey on Israeli tourists, conducted by Catholic priests-in-waiting, has even gone to the extent of describing young Israelis holidayers as a "nuisance", who indulge in drugs, alcohol and swap partners.

Over 1.33 lakh Russian tourists visited Goa in 2011, marking a 200 per cent rise in arrivals as compared to the preceding year.

Several thousand Israelis visit Goa annually. The western Indian beach destination is a part of the Goa, Pushkar in Rajasthan and Manali (Himachal Pradesh) tourism circuit popular amongst foreigners.


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