Russian arrested for illegal tours in Goa

Panaji, May 3 (IANS) A Russian national operating illegally as a tourist guide was arrested Friday by Goa tourism authorities, an official said.

Inna Navroupiya was near Goa’s most popular church, the Unesco-endorsed Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, where he was running a guided tour.

Nikhil Dessai, managing director of Goa Tourism Development Corporation, said that Navroupiya, a Russian national, had also been operating an illegal tourist servicing agency.

He said that Navroupiya was arrested while she was conducting a guided tour for Russian tourists at the Old Goa church complex. Old Goa is home to churches which are more than 400 years old.

“We have fined her Rs.10,000 and have warned her against conducting illegal tours,” Dessai said.

The arrest follows complaints by local guides, who claim that foreigners – especially Russians, French and Iranians – are taking over the guided tours market.

Local guides, registered with the state and central tourism ministries, had also complained to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar about poaching of guides by foreign nationals.

Over 2.4 million tourists visit Goa annually, out of which half a million are foreigners.

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