PANJIM: Hotels in Goa will re-open on Thursday with the government deciding to re-commence tourism services for domestic travellers, though the State has been recording a daily rise in COVID-19 cases.
After a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar announced that the tourism industry in the State will re-open for Indian travellers from July 2 but with conditions such as booking of only those hotels approved by Tourism Department.
The department, that last month asked hotels wishing to restart business to register with it, has allowed 250 hotels to operate as long as they follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
“We have decided to allow domestic travellers to come to Goa from tomorrow onwards (July 2) after they comply with certain rules to ensure health safety. Tourists arriving in the State should compulsorily have pre-booking of any of the hotels approved by Tourism Department,” Ajgaonkar said. The government has banned home stays and those hotels failing to register with the department to allow operations or offer online bookings.
The minister said that tourists will either have to carry a COVID-19 negative certificate while entering Goa or in its absence get themselves tested at the border and wait in paid quarantine facilities till the results are conveyed to them.
“No testing or no COVID-19 negative certificate means the tourists will not be allowed to enter the State. Anyone who tests positive will be given an option to return to his State or get admitted in the State,” he said.
Asked about opposition to resuming tourism from certain sectors in the wake of rising cases, the minister said that a few States have already started tourism activities. “There are many who want to holiday in Goa,” he said.
Tourism stakeholders had been insisting with the government to restart tourism, stating that the closure of the industry before the end of 2019-20 tourism season till date, has led to a financial crisis.