Worried that the upcoming tourist season is not a dampener, the Travel & Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) requests the state government to announce policies that will allow charter flights from international markets.
After getting some sort of relief from the Centre on electricity charges for two months, the travel agents of Goa are now demanding that the international charter flights be allowed from October-end, which is when the inbound season begins. Nilesh Shah, President, Travel & Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), says, “As a state, Goa receives among the highest number of international charter flights with tourists. We therefore request the state government to allow charter flights to come in from October-end, which is when the season starts. To start receiving charters from our main source markets – that is the UK, Germany, Russia and the Scandinavian countries in October, they need to start booking now.”
He adds that if the government is serious about restarting tourism in the state, they must relax rules around incoming charters. “There is a lot of bureaucracy right now with many permissions required. For this, the state tourism needs to step in. The government needs to take a bold step. We will be meeting the Chief Minister of Goa regarding this soon,” he adds.
One SOP throughout India
Shah is grateful that the Centre allowed the hotels some relief in terms of electricity charges on actual consumption for April and May 2020. “The occupancy levels in Goa have been extremely low – just about four to five per cent in the last few months. One of the major reasons for this is the COVID-negative certification required for tourists entering the state or paying `2,000 for this test at the border. For a family of four, this becomes very expensive. Moreover, different states have different SOPs. We should have one SOP throughout India, which will make life for tourists easier,” Shah says. Flights to Goa currently are few and far between. At the moment, it is only connected with six cities: Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai via IndiGo.