Panaji (Goa) [India], August 17 (ANI): The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) and the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) on Tuesday urged Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant to restart international charter flights to Goa in a bid to revive tourism that has been hit by the Covid pandemic.
The two organisations made a joint representation to the chief minister today. Tourism is one of the most adversely affected sectors during the Covid pandemic. The tourism sector employs over 40 million skilled and trained manpower and generates about US $29 billion foreign exchange per annum, the organisations said.
With the full closure of international flights and visas since March 2020, many operators and stakeholders closed office and are facing severe financial constraints, GCCI and TTAG said.
As Goa is one of the leading states for tourism, they proposed that charter flights be allowed to land in Goa specially from safe destinations which have allowed Indians to travel to their countries on tourist visa and international flights are already operating between countries like Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. So India 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, GCCI and TTAG said.
GCCI and TTAG urged Sawant to undertake the following measures to ensure that charter tourism can restart in Goa:
Announcement to 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 season is not lost.
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.
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.
SOPs to 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.
Dedicated area for arrivals and departure at the airport for these international passengers can also be worked out.
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 SOPs which by now they all are, post opening of domestic tourism. (ANI)