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Rows between Goa’s tour operators and taxi drivers affect Russian travelers

February 13, 2014, 18:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Taxi drivers accuse India’s travel companies that they provide transport services to their tourists without obtaining relevant permits and steal their daily bread
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© EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

MOSCOW, February 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian tourists in India’s smallest state, Goa, have repeatedly become victims of rows between the local tour operators and taxi drivers.

Taxi drivers accuse India’s travel companies that they provide transport services to their tourists without obtaining relevant permits and steal their daily bread.

During the current tourism season no less than four incidents, when taxi drivers blocked buses full of Russian tourists and took their guide or interpreter to police, had taken place, a representative of Goa’s tour company told Itar-Tass.

“For the past five days nobody has stopped any buses,” said Franky D’Cunha of Caper Travel.

Franky D’Cunha urges the Indian authorities to issue for tour operators and guides registered in Goa documents confirming that they work officially. “Otherwise, the conflict cannot be resolved,” he added.

After a chain of incidents Goa Chief Minister Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar held a meeting with representatives of travel companies and taxi drivers, urging them “not to take the law into their hands” and instructed police to keep a close watch on incidents with tourist buses.

A managing partner of Tara Travel, Yekaterina Belyakova, said in turn tour operators demanded that Goa’s authorities “should issue an official statement on rules regulating the operation of travel companies.”

A representative of Goa’s another travel company told Itar-Tass that taxi drivers, tour operators and the authorities were to blame of the lingering row. “In Morjim, a village in Pernem, Goa, popular among Russians, 300 hotel rooms account for 150 taxi cars and the authorities continue issuing 50 new licenses per week in their state,” the representative said. “There are too many taxi drivers, and this process is uncontrollable.”

In 2013 a record high number of tourists, 2.8 million, including 450,000 foreign tourists, visited Goa. Over 120,000 tourists from Russia holidayed in Goa’s resorts last year. In 2014 their number is expected to exceed 200,000.

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