Goa govt’s green light to 250 hotels to reopen on Thursday

Published on Jul 01, 2020 07:38 PM IST

Hotels in Goa had been shut since the lockdown was announced in March to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Goa’s economy depends heavily on the tourism sector which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.(Shutterstock)
Goa’s economy depends heavily on the tourism sector which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.(Shutterstock)
Hindustan Times, Panaji | ByGerard de Souza

More than 250 hotels in Goa will throw open their doors on Thursday after the government granted permission to resume operation, the state’s Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said Wednesday.

This is the first major decision of the Goa government under Unlock 2 which kicked in on Wednesday. Hotels in Goa had been shut since the lockdown was announced in march to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The Goa government had sought applications from hotel operators who were willing to reopen as well a declaration that they will abide by the standard operating procedures. Around 250 hotels applied for reopening.

“The hotels will be allowed to start from tomorrow. Those who want to travel to Goa can do so. Hotel booking should be done prior to travelling to the state and with a hotel that has been allowed to reopen. Without booking tourists will not be allowed. At the entry point we will check if they are tested 48 hours prior. If not, the tourist will be sent to a hotel, where he will be tested. And once the test is negative, the tourist will be allowed to move out,” Ajgaonkar said.

“If the tourist is staying with friends or relatives, there should be documentation,” Ajgaonkar added.

The tourism minister said that he was expecting those from the cities who were fed up with the lockdown and being stuck in their homes to opt for travel for a “change of scenery”.

“We are not forcing anyone to come. We are only creating facilities for them,” Ajgaonkar said when asked whether the reopening of the sector will help spread the virus at a time when the state is still struggling to cope with rising cases of Covid-19.

“We do not want to play with anyone’s life. At the same time we need to boost revenue and the economy. Economically we are in bad shape,” Ajgaonkar added.

Tourism on which the state relies heavily for revenue had come to a complete standstill in Goa following the lockdown. The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) has claimed that the direct and indirect economic impact of the tourism industry is estimated at 40% of the state’s GDP including multiplier effect.

The industry has also sought that bars and restaurants be allowed to reopen in the state as hotels “cannot successfully (reopen) unless the bars and restaurants are given permissions to reopen as well.”

The TTAG has been petitioning the government to allow them to reopen in order that they can begin taking bookings for later in the year when the European tourists start arriving.

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