State tourism industry welcomes ‘Sunburn Goa’

Panaji, Dec 22 (IANS) Even as civil society groups have demanded a ban on the controversial mega music party ‘Sunburn Goa’, the state tourism department as well as tourism stakeholders have welcomed the three-day electronic music event, due to be held here Dec 27-29.

‘Sunburn (Goa) as a brand is catching up and in the long run, it will be beneficial to the state. It will bring in more tourists. In the past we have associated ourselves with the party even though we did not give any monetary funding,’ tourism director Swapnil Naik told reporters here.

Sunburn Goa, which will be held at Candolim beach, is expected to get some of the top names in the world of electronic music like Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and Dave Seaman.

The festival attracts thousands of revellers, mostly youngsters from urban India, who flock to Goa for the event. And those are the numbers the tourism stakeholders in the state are interested in.

‘This event needs to go on and needs to be promoted. It’s not about the drugs and the mafias that can be controlled with proper policing,’ Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) President Gaurish Dhond said, when asked about the reports surrounding the event about rampant drug abuse at the party venue.

‘The Sunburn festival is a big one that has been happening in Goa every year. It not only brings the best people at the national level but also international level. Because of its size, it attracts many companies and corporates who want to associate with the event and many people visit the state especially for this event,’ Dhond said.

Three civic society groups have demanded that the state administration should not permit the festival this year because it gave Goa and the beach village of Candolim, which hosts it, a ‘bad name’.

A spokesperson for the three groups said that the police should also probe the death of 23-year-old Bangalore girl Meha Bahuguna, who died of a drug overdose at the event last year.

The state home ministry is non-committal about granting the necessary permissions for the event.

‘I have not received any file seeking permission for Sunburn festival. The festival cannot happen without a nod from the state home ministry. All beach parties have to take permission from the home ministry,’ Home Minister Ravi Naik said.


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