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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Goa’s industry bodies urge CM to announce opening of chartered tourism by October

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Panaji: Two of Goa’s prominent industry bodies in trade and tourism sectors on Tuesday petitioned Chief Minister Pramod Sawant requesting him to announce opening of international tourist charters from coming October month onwards.

Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) urged Sawant that the chartered flights from safe destinations, who have allowed Indians to travel to their countries on tourist visas and from where international flights are operating, should be allowed to arrive in Goa.

The bodies have said that the chartered flights from the countries like Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan can be allowed to fly to Goa from October onwards.

While domestic tourists can arrive in Goa with COVID-19 negative or fully vaccinated certificate, the international tourists are yet to arrive here, since the outbreak of COVID-19.

GCCI and TTAG have demanded with the CM that announcement be made  immediately for opening of International tourist charters from October onwards so that foreign operators have time to market and prepare for the operations and this coming tourism season is not lost.

“Tourism is one of the most adversely affected sectors for the Covid pandemic. The tourism sector employs over 40 million skilled and trained manpower and generates approximately US $29 billion foreign exchange per annum,” the representation reads.

The industry bodies have said that with the full closure of international flights and visa’s since March 2020, many operators and stakeholders closed office and are facing severe financial constraints.

“As Goa is one of the leading states for tourism we propose that charter flights be allowed to land in Goa specially from safe destinations who have allowed Indians to travel to their countries on tourist visa and international flights are already operating in between two countries like Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan,” they have said.

The representation added that we should reciprocate the same way. “As tourists arriving in Goa don’t travel to any other state and majority of them spend their time at their respective hotels so it becomes easy to control and monitor them,” the bodies have said.

They have said that if by any chance there is any third wave of COVID-19 then announcement of cancellation of charter operations can be made by September or October.

The industry bodies have said that Special charter tourist package Visa to be worked out which can be issued manually by the local embassies or temporary landing permits can be issued on arrival to tourists, as done in the past.

“The SoPs should be  put in place for all international arriving tourists like being fully vaccinated or negative RTPCR COVID-19 test report being done in 72 hours of travel.”

They have also recommended that the dedicated area for arrivals and departure at the airport for these international passengers can also be worked out.

The bodies have said that dedicated and reserved beds in the hospital for these passengers in case some passengers are tested positive can also be worked out.

“All hotels, transporters and suppliers have to follow strict SOP’s which by now they all are, post opening of domestic tourism,” the representation reads.

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