With SWS, beach weddings rake in cash for government


 It's raining weddings for the tourism department since it introduced a single window system (SWS) of clearance for major and minor events held at beaches.
Since December 2012, the tourism department has issued permissions for over 50 minor events of which 20 alone were beach weddings. It has garnered revenue to the tune of 25 lakh as permission fee on minor events during last two months and 3.50 crore on major events.
Most beach weddings took place at South Goa beaches like Rajbag, Senarbatim, Varca, Cavelossim and Arossim.
It's not just NRIs and tourists who vie for beach venues for wedding ceremonies but a good number of locals too.
More beach parties and musical events took place at North Goa beaches. A tourism official said SWS has proved to be a bonanza for the tourism department as it has a direct beneficiary.
Though events were held at beaches in the past, an exclusive permission of the tourism department was not required nor was it allowed to charge fees for such events.
Since the introduction of the SWS it has been a windfall for the tourism department. For minor events, the department is permitted to charge 6,000 a day in addition to a processing fee of 5,000 whereas 15,000 as processing fee is charged for a major event.
Fee for a major event is decided by a state-level committee headed by the tourism secretary. Events held for five days with 750 and more invitees, involving expenditure of 50 lakh and more is termed a major event.
In December last year, the tourism department permitted three big events — international musical festival Sunburn in Candolim, a two-day musical festival at Colva and Windsong Christ Carnival festival.
Events such as music shows, music festival concerts, night bazaars, craft bazaars, beach weddings, tourism exhibitions, meetings and conventions held outside licensed premises come under the purview of the SWS. [TOI]