GOA TAR BALLS CREATED RIPPLES IN MOSCOW TOO

PANJIM : Extensive media coverage of tar balls swamping Goa's beaches has created a few ripples in far away Moscow too, a top tourism department official has said.
Tourism director Swapnil Naik, who has returned from a tourism promotion event in Russia, told IANS Monday that the tourism industry captains there were keen on knowing more about the phenomenon and about the steps taken by the state government to handle the coastal crisis.
'They raised three issues one of which included tar balls. They happened to have read about the phenomenon,' Naik said.
'We had attended the 'Leisure Fair' held in Moscow and met a delegation of over 76 different representatives from the tourism trade,' said Naik, who was part of the official delegation to Russia along with Tourism Minister Nilaknth Halarnkar and other tourism department officials.
'We informed them that this - was an annual phenomenon and that it has been taken care of. With regard to the issue of security for tourists, there were some issues, but we told them that a special tourist force was being put in place to handle this aspect,' Naik said, adding that Russia was crucial to tourism in Goa, because it sent nearly half a lakh tourists to the sun-kissed beaches of the state.
'We told them that out of 24 lakh tourists who visit the state each year, almost everyone goes back happy. We have reinforced the idea that Goa is a safe tourism destination,' Naik said, adding that queries about new visa guidelines released by the home ministry were also discussed.
The 'Leisure Fair' was held in Moscow from Sep 21-24 and included a road show in which the Goa tourism officials had participated

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