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Goa sees influx of tourists amid covid; stakeholders feel such transitions won’t revive tourism

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Panaji: The exquisite Goa beaches have become an escape ground for the domestic tourists, who are gathered in large numbers here to get breathers from COVID-19 outbreak . But, such momentary transitions don’t translate into a business for the industry, which is still going through a sluggish phase, the stakeholders said.
Goa’s popular beaches including Calangute, Candolim, Baga in North Goa and Colva and Palolem in South Goa are witnessing huge influx of tourists during the current festive season. The tourism stakeholders, however, claim that they are not translating into the business for anyone.
“The tourists who arrive here come by their own vehicle and mostly carry their own food. They pick up liquor from wholesale wine stores. The shacks are still wearing an empty look,” said Manuel Cardoso, President, Traditional Shack Owners’ Association.
He said that many of the members affiliated to his Association are yet to erect shacks as they are waiting to gauge response for the next month. “Majority of the tables are empty. You will hardly find a couple of people entering the shacks for their meal or a drink,” he said.
Cardoso stated that the rush that is witnessed is only at the prime beaches. “If you walk a little away from the main areas, the beach belt is deserted,” he said.
Another shack owner, Julio Fernandes from Calangute, claimed that the tourists arrive here from neighbouring states only to return back to their native by evening. “The tourists don’t wait back, so they don’t stay in any hotel. The hotel occupancy is also poor,” he said.
Generally, the months of November and December are considered as a peak season for the tourism industry in the State.
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) feels that the recent SOP introduced by Maharashtra government making it mandatory to have COVID-19 negative certificate for the travelers from Goa will further dent the tourism prospects of the coastal state (Goa).
TTAG President Nilesh Shah said that it is difficult to digest the claim of the Maharashtra government that travelers from Goa would carry the infection when we are the least infected state. Shah said that such a SOP would impact Goa in a big way when the state is looking up for December month to revive the tourism industry.
State Tourism Director Menino D’Souza said that there will be no direct impact of Maharashtra SOP but there could be some “indirect impact on the state.” He added that the tourism industry in the state is getting back to normalcy with tourist inflow is “much more than the expectation.”

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