Goa hoteliers fume as govt drags feet over applications to resume business

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Hoteliers in Goa are annoyed with the state government for not allowing businesses to restart almost a fortnight after the Central government’s green light to resume operations under the Unlock 1 guidelines.

The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa has pointed out that despite applying for permission as sought by the state government, none have been permitted to resume business.

“The 8th of June has been the date on which all the hotels and restaurants were required to open. Many hotels situated in bigger cities in India have already started to operate for business. It is almost 13 days and the industry is waiting for an OK from the Government to start operating all these units,” Nilesh Shah, the president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, said.

The Goa Tourism Department had called for hoteliers to submit applications to reopen as well as an undertaking that they will follow all the guidelines and standard operating procedures as mandated by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Hoteliers had started submitting applications from June 8.

Earlier, Director of Tourism Menino D’Souza had said that the Department would then inspect each hotel to ensure compliances before allowing them to restart.

“All hotels which are willing to comply with the guidelines, have to apply to the department. We will verify whether they are in a position to comply with the guidelines,” D’Souza had said.

The TTAG has however, claimed that despite more than 200 hotels applying to reopen, none have been given the go ahead to do so.

“Out of thousands of hotels waiting to reopen we have only about 200 who have applied for permission to reopen. Up to now there has been no go ahead given by our state Government to reopen,” Shah added.

Tourism, which is a major revenue earner in Goa, has come to a complete standstill following the lockdown to control the Covid-19 pandemic. The TTAG has claimed that the direct and indirect economic impact of the tourism industry is estimated at 40% of the state’s GDP.

The industry has also sought that bars and restaurants also be allowed to reopen in the state as hotels “cannot successfully (reopen) unless the bars and restaurants are given permissions to reopen as well.”

Restaurants have been allowed to reopen in the state with only half the capacity but aren’t allowed to serve alcohol.

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