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Goa Tourism Minister warns of action against hawkers pestering foreigners

IANS | Panaji |

Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Monday said the constant pestering of tourists by hawkers on the state's beaches has forced the state Tourism Ministry to come down on the menace.

Speaking to reporters, Ajgaonkar said groups of hawkers physically grab foreign tourists and don't let go until they buy their ware.

"Some hawkers… what they do is… five-six of them hold foreigners' hands and they don't let go. This message has to go to everyone," Ajgaonkar said.

The minister also said that tourism department personnel, including security guards and life guards, had been allotted areas on Goa's popular beaches in order to keep them hawker-free.

"I have told them that if hawkers are found, you will be suspended," Ajgaonkar said.

Goa attracts more than four million tourists annually, of which half a million are foreign nationals.