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Fifty lakh pilgrims to converge at Old Goa for SFX Exposition 2014

Fifty lakh pilgrims  are  expected to  visit Old Goa during the 44 days  of  the Exposition  of St. Francis Xavier  commencing  November 22.Elaborate arrangements   have been put in place to cater to the  laity  travelling  to  Goa from across the globe and  country. The  Goa Archdiocese  is estimating at least   1 lakh pilgrims  to descend at Old Goa daily, while  during the  SFX novenas and  December holidays there could be  around 1.5 lakh visitors every day. The church has also made special arrangements   to accommodate 1,800 pilgrims with beds and food by charging a nominal fee of Rs 150. An additional 500 pilgrims are proposed to be accommodated at its retreat house. Fr.Alfred Vaz,   Convener  of the SFX Exposition 2014 said, “All arrangements  are well taken care of  and elaborate arrangements for  security, traffic  plans, cleanliness  are being worked out by the  government.”

The  SFX  Exposition Secretariat  along  with  the Goa Tourism Development  Corporation  (GTDC) office and  a health center  have already been set up  and all aspects concerning the SFX Exposition  2014 will be tackled therein. Top priority is  being given  towards  ensuring   hygiene  and cleanliness  and systems are  being put in  place  such as  anti-vector remedies,  first aid ,  three bed  medical  facility,  ambulance services and so on. Arrangements for supply of safe drinking water and hot water for bathing have also been made.

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In view of  the  large  arrivals  of tourists  from  far and wide, the   tourism department and the Goa Tourism Development  Corporation   have also appointed  personnel  for guiding  tourists,  travel  bookings and  tourism related information. Special ‘Hop-On Hop-Off’ buses will be introduced by the GTDC for giving visitors a tour of Old Goa and its  monuments. The tour will give tourists and pilgrims an insight  into  history and  heritage.

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The  Chairman   of  Goa Tourism  Development  Corporation, Nilesh Cabral said, “ the  decennial  Exposition of St Francis Xavier  is  a big occasion  for Goa and  the tourism  ministry  s working closely with the   church  to ensure that all visitors have  a  comfortable  stay and  take  advantage of Goa in its  full glory.”

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