Vaccination drive in Goa
NEW DELHI: Underlining the importance of the tourism industry which has been hit hard during the pandemic, PM Modi on Saturday said India prioritised tourist destinations in its vaccination efforts and that the government had taken several steps to attract foreign tourists.
"It did not get much discussion but India has given a lot of priority to states associated with the tourism sector in its vaccination campaign. It was very important to open up the tourist destinations. Now the Chaar-Dhaam Yatra in Uttarakhand will also be possible. Along with these efforts, 100% vaccination in Goa is very important," the PM said while interacting with healthcare workers and vaccine beneficiaries from Goa as he lauded the state leadership for vaccinating the entire adult population.
Modi said, "Initially we did not say so much about it because politics would have started happening on this too. However, the central government has also recently taken several steps to encourage foreign tourists. It has been decided to give free visas to 5 lakh tourists visiting India."
He said loans up to Rs 10 lakh with a government guarantee to the stakeholders in the tourism sector and loans up to Rs 1 lakh for registered tourist guides have also been instituted for revival of the sector.
“Imagine that if hotel industry people, taxi drivers, shopkeepers all are vaccinated, there will be a sense of safety among the tourists. Now Goa is among a few select international tourist destinations to have the vaccination safety shield,” Modi said.
On the record one-day vaccination on Friday, coinciding with his 71st birthday, the PM said, “I have seen many birthdays and have always been indifferent to that but, in all my years, yesterday was a day that made me deeply emotional,” he added.
Taking a swipe at the opposition, the PM said there is talk of fever as a vaccine sideeffect, but a political party experienced fever after Friday’s record. “For the first time, I saw that a political party developed fever late last night after India achieved its vaccination record. Is there any logic to this?” he said.