As India opens up most of its businesses under Unlock 5.0, some top travel destinations like Goa have opened their borders for tourists. Goa had opened the borders for domestic travellers in July but with certain conditions. Stringent quarantine rules made it difficult for people to visit for a holiday. However, relaxed norms that came into effect in September allow people to visit without going through complicated procedures.
The state had earlier made it mandatory for tourists to avail a COVID-19 negative certificate two days prior to reaching Goa via land, air or sea route, but now there's no such rule. People can travel to Goa as long as they follow mandatory precautions, including social distancing, use of sanitisers and wearing of masks.
Goa Chief minister Pramod Sawant had earlier said that people also don't need to carry their e-pass with them anymore. Earlier, the Goa tourism department had listed a minimum number of hotels where customers were allowed to book their stay but now around 650 bars, restaurants and hotels are open for customers.
As per the Goa tourism department, over 650 hotels, which are ranked best in terms of facilities and hygiene, have been allowed to open in Goa for now but others are also opening as the flow of tourists increases.
The government has also allowed non-starred hotels to open too but with certain conditions. As per Goa Travel and Tourism Association chief Nilesh Shah, many hotels in the state are recording 100 percent occupancy.
Most hotels are also offering discounts to gain visitors' trust and make up for the revenue loss in the past six months. As per the current trend, the high-end hotels are making the most of the current opportunity considering people's fear around coronavirus and hygiene-related concerns.
The hotels are also gearing up for the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) event scheduled to be held in Goa. The professional football league will be held in November. Regarding air travel to Goa, airport director Gagan Malik has also assured it is absolutely safe to fly now with all the precautions at the aerodrome and during the flight in place.
Right from airport entry till the boarding gate, the entire area is sanitised, he has assured. Even the baggage of the passengers is sanitised. As per Malik, before the COVID-19 outbreak, Goa airport was handling 85-90 departures a day. Currently, it is handling around 21 flights and the figure is expected to increase in the days to come.
With PTI inputs