03 Jul 2020 | 04:16am IST
Some hotel doors may open but not tourism
The tourism minister announced that hotels which had applied for registration could now open for business to domestic tourists. But with the number of cases in Goa still increasing and the tough sops demanded by the health and tourism ministry, will the hotels be able to comply given that their staff may not be in place. Café spoke to members of the hospitality industry to understand what it is they felt about it all.
Around 250 hotels had applied for reopening and it is a given they will have to follow the tough guidelines issued by the government. Please understand many of the five-star hotels have spent time training their staff. Please remember many people had checked into these facilities during the lockdown and the staff have gained the knowledge as to how to behave in such situations. I agree there will be challenges for the small hotels. Everyone has to understand that safety of the people working in the industry and of the guests are paramount. Covid is here to stay. People will have to follow the protocols. The surge in cases have been due to house parties which is regrettable. In the large picture you have to understand that people are tired of the lockdown and will have to learn to follow the sops, there is no other way. Please remember there are 3850 registered hotels in Goa, so this is just a small drop in the ocean. There is a long way ahead.
Nilesh shah President TTAG
I believe the safety of the guests and the employees is very important. I believe this is a pandemic which will not go away and we have to learn to live with it. We have to follow the protocols to beat it. As a hotelier it is very important for me to restart operations. We are bleeding and no one in their right mind is going out to drink and party. The government has not offered the industry anything. We are paying our fixed costs. We cannot send our employees away. If business does not start soon then very soon properties in Goa and around the world will start shutting down. This move by the government is a very good one. We have to move forward but not make rash moves. The economy has to start moving again. Remember a lot of money has gone into managing the properties during the lockdown and many people cannot continue doing so.
Ajay Handa Hotelier
I don’t know if any of the 250 hotels have opened today. I know of one which has opened. It is not going to be easy to open. One requires the time and the staff to start which is not in place for a few of the hotels. Importantly they have to start marketing their properties, the tourists are not going to come walking in. so it will take time. Remember when the flights commenced, many were empty and I know some have been cancelled. The hotels will suffer and it will take a while before business starts coming in with any regularity. I feel now hotels will only cater to corporate clients because companies in Verna industrial estate will have to conduct business and executives will fly in and they will have to stay somewhere. Remember even if the hotels open, can the restaurants open, can the bar and the gymn be open. No one knows anything. Tourism will take some time return to its old form.
Please understand this the minster said the hotels can open but till now the permissions have not been received. Hotels don’t know what to do. The restaurants and bars are all shut, no one I tell you is prepared to start. Where is business, I know people are fed up sitting at home but that does not mean they will come to Goa. Please also remember many hotels have sent their staff home. It will take a while before anyone will return. The Minister shot his mouth off and went off. The ground realities are something else. Where is the business, is it sustainable in these conditions? It all remains to be seen.
Senior hotelier who preferred to be anonymous
I feel the sops given by the ministry are good and the hoteliers have to put them into action. I strongly believe a government body should inspect the facilities before they start functioning. I don’t agree with this move. It is great mileage for Goa and everyone outside the state are welcoming it but in Goa the people strongly believe that business will not be coming. I see troubling days ahead. Hoteliers like us with hundred rooms will be in trouble. We are partially open with seafarers under lockdown using our facilities. Business, we believe will may be come in October November. Our present focus is the domestic market but please remember, Mumbai, Delhi are in the top five in terms of Covid cases. Flights are being cancelled and till some reduction takes place in the number of cases no one will come.
Jacob john GM Whispering Palms
Goa has to open, we are over reacting to the virus. We have to follow the protocols; I really don’t see a problem. The bureaucracy has responded in a critical manner which has not been liked by us. The lockdown did not stop the spread of the virus. There was only an increase in the number of patients going into the hospital. I was part of the Hilton resorts group in Goa and the market is great and it is time it opened up
Partha Prasad Chanson Hotels and Resorts
We are opening on 15 July, we will follow the sops, the permissions have just come today. We had applied and the staff will come in by July 10th. We will follow all the protocols. We don’t want to take any risks. It is a good move by the minister.
Ashwek Sirsat GM Sea Mist Resort
I will open only once I get the notification in hand. I went to the tourism ministry this morning and was told a mere announcement to open did not mean one could be open for business. They requested us to have patience and said they were working on the modalities and we would receive the permissions by mail. We have the staff in place to handle the business we feel that will come during this period.
Carmo Barretto GM The O Hotel