Stakeholders seek phase-wise unlocking of Goa tourism industry

Panaji, Jun 21 (PTI) Tourism stakeholders in Goa urged the state government on Sunday to facilitate phase-wise unlocking of the industry, saying if the shutdown continues, it will result in job and revenue losses.

The tourism industry accounts for 40 per cent of Goa's GDP and is important for the country's economy, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), an umbrella body of tourism stakeholders in the state, said in a statement.

Goa's tourism industry has been shut since March when the lockdown was enforced in the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The state government earlier this month said hotels will be allowed to reopen from June 8, in adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

However, most of the hotels still remain closed.

The TTAG appealed to the government to unlock Goa's tourism industry 'in a phased manner at the earliest'.

The industry cannot remain closed much longer as there will be substantial jobs and revenue losses for Goa, it said.

'Tourism activities are reopening gradually in various parts of India. We in Goa also have to follow suit and bring in guidelines and protocols for the reopening of hotels, restaurant, bars and all ancillary industries connected with tourism, it said.

Though the protocols and guidelines require hotels to re-open, they cannot successfully do so unless bars and restaurants are also given permissions to reopen. Therefore, there is a need to reopen hotels together with restaurants and bars, it said.

The association said hotels and restaurants were required to open from June 8 and applications were invited for seeking permission for it.

However, the industry is still waiting for the government's nod to start operating all its units, it said.

Out of thousands of hotels waiting to reopen, only about 200 have applied for permission and several others are waiting to see what is going to happen, it claimed.

The tourism industry is ready to co-operate and follow the SOPs for reopening, but there has to be a practical and sustainable solution.

'If there is any further delay, a lot of people would start losing jobs and they will have mental health issues along with starvation, it added. PTI RPS GK GK