No ‘I do’ near sand dunes, turtle nesting sites

Such rules should also apply to weddings that the star hotels host on the beach.

Picture perfect weddings on Goa’s sandy shores, with a setting sun in backgorund, have received a reality check with the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, which reports to the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, saying beachweddings should not be permitted in ecologically sensitive areas.

The report, which has been submitted to the state, contains guidelines for the use of beaches or private lands in coastal regulation zone (CRZ) area for recreational activities such as destination weddings and private parties. It also recommends that permissions for beach weddings should be given only after a nod from the Goa coastal zone management authority.

Wedding tourism activities shall not be permitted in ecologically sensitive areas, sand dunes and designated turtle nesting sites,” the report said.

“However, they could be permitted in other areas including private areas on a case to case basis with the prior permission of the GCZMA,” the report also said.

Destination weddings on Goa’s beaches have become a huge money spinner for the state and a rough estimate by the government suggests that over 800 high-end weddings are organized in Goa annually. The events bring in ‘high quality’ tourists, including non-resident Indians (NRI) and overseas citizens of India (OCI) who spend large amounts of money and generate business for local entrepreneurs.

The guidelines stipulate that the stage for beach weddings should be temporary and that vegetation must not be removed or damaged. “Use of modular steel stages which can be easily assembled and dismantled should be adopted. The tourism department shall ensure that such beach wedding set ups do not unreasonably block free movement of public on beaches and no permanent damage should be caused to the beach and natural surfaces such as rock formations should not be altered or changed,” the report goes on to say.

These guidelines will also apply to weddings organized in villages that are within the 200m CRZ area.

Interestingly, the tourism department has already stopped entertaining applications seeking permission to organize beach weddings unless applicants obtain permission from GCZMA, which has jurisdiction in CRZ areas.
“There shall be no digging or disturbance of sand on public beaches. The structures should not remain for more than three days per event and should be dismantled,” the report states.
The report also states that cleanliness of the beaches shall be the complete responsibility of organizers when such weddings are organized on public beach.