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MOSCOW, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in India’s smallest state, Goa, over mass protests of taxi drivers against tour operators working with Russian tourists has stabilized, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) said on Thursday, adding that all tours for Russian travelers had been arranged as scheduled.
Taxi drivers had repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with foreign companies’ activities in Goa, an ATOR representative said. “This situation has already been lingering for 15 years. Usually this does not hamper tourists’ vacations and tours are not cancelled now,” he said.
On January 27, taxi drivers attacked a bus full of Russian tourists. They were deeply outraged by the fact that tour companies created by Russian-speaking foreigners used transport companies’ services, taking away their clients. No tourist was injured in a brawl, but several tour operators had to cancel their tours scheduled for Tuesday.
The Russian Information Centre in Goa said, “the row really has taken place, although it is difficult to say whether the incident has been inspired exclusively by tougher competition among local travel companies this season, or it is the result of the local government’s long-time subsidy program in relation to private entrepreneurs (taxi drivers), what the current oversupply of transport services.”
On January 28, over 1,000 taxi drivers went on a sit-down strike near the state secretariat’s building, therefore several travel operators decided to cancel their tours. However, these problems had not affected large tour operators, the ATOR representative said.
In 2013, over 120,000 Russian tourists holidayed on resorts of Goa. In 2014, their number is expected to exceed 200,000.