Panaji (Goa) [India], June 30 (ANI): Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Goa's tourism industry has welcomed the steps taken by the Central government to revive the industry.
Michael Lobo, the Goa Ports Minister applauded Union Finance Ministry Nirmala Sitharaman's decision to provide loans up to Rs 10,00,000 for Travel and Tourism Stakeholders (per agency) and Rs 1,00,000 for tourist guides licensed at the regional or state level and said that the step will boost the tourism industry across the country.
"The decision by Nirmala Sitharaman will give a boost to the tourism industry not only in Goa but across the country. Once the situation improves in India, the economic condition of a lot of states will improve," Lobo told ANI.
Nelson Gonsalves, Joint Secretary of All Goa Inter Contract Carriage Bus Owners and Operators Association said, "It is our pleasure to accept the kind of package or support the Centre is providing us. Due to the pandemic, we have suffered a huge loss. The packages are a good idea to support the tourist guides and agencies."
A tour and travel agency owner Dominic said, "We welcome the packages by the Centre as we have been suffering for the last one and half years. There are no tourists, no income, and we are suffering."
As part of efforts to revive the tourism sector which has been hit hard due to COVID-19, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced some measures including free tourist visas to the first five lakh tourists.
She said financial support will be provided to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides and travel and tourism stakeholders.
Loans will be provided with a 100 per cent guarantee up to the following limits - Rs. 10,00,000 for TTS ( per agency) and Rs 1,00,000 for tourist guides licenced at regional or state level
There will be no processing charges or prepayment charges and no additional collateral requirement
The scheme will be administered by the Tourism Ministry through NCGTC.
Sitharaman said the first five lakh tourists who come to India once international travel resumes will not have to pay visa fees.
"This will benefit any tourist only once. The scheme is applicable till March 31, 2022, or will be closed after distribution of first 5 lakh visas," she said.
A total of 10.93 million foreign tourists visited India in 2019, spent USD 30.098 billion on leisure and business.
The average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days and the average daily spending of a tourist in India is around USD 34 (Rs 2400). (ANI)