In a major relief to beach shack owners and other tourism activity operators, the state cabinet, finally, after much delay, passed the order allowing for a 50% reduction in the annual fees paid by beach shack owners.
In a press note yesterday, the cabinet has approved the waiver of 50% in a beach shack and deck bed fees. This comes under the three-year Tourism Shack Policy 2019-2022.
The pandemic had forced many shack owners to delay their setting-up of shacks, and with the government yet to provide the licenses, many are hopeful that beach shack owners can begin their operations by early next month.
In view of the pandemic, the tourism stakeholders had approached the government to reduce the annual fees paid by beach shack owners by 50% for this tourism season. The owners had stated huge losses due to the pandemic situation, and also because of the early closure of the last tourism season.
The government had agreed to address these demands, and the same was cleared by the cabinet yesterday.
The government has also permitted for relaxation of the of clause 20 of the Tourism Shack Policy. As per this clause, it was mandated that beach shack owners pay the annual fees by September 10, and in-case of their non-payment, they would not be allowed to set-up their shacks in the allotted location.
This year, however, with allotment and licensing delayed, many owners were uncertain when they would have to complete their fee payment in order to be able to set-up their shacks.
In this regard, the payment of these annual fees has been permitted to be done until the end of the year, December 31, 2020, which has been widely accepted by all stakeholders. This also means that beach shack owners can begin their setting-up process after availing licenses, despite not paying the fees, but they have to complete the same by the year-end.
With the waiver granted, beach shack owners are hopeful that the other processes of licensing and allotment of areas would be cleared very soon.
As reported earlier, many shack owners in South Goa are hopeful to get their business up and running, however, some in North Goa are still skeptical owing to no foreign charter arrivals.
If all goes well, many believe that Goa may be able to witness the first charters arrive by the month of December. With European charters clearly not arriving in Goa anytime soon, tourism stakeholders are pinning their hopes on Russian charters.
Calangute MLA Michael Lobo had also recently stated that Russian charters have shown their interest in arriving in Goa, and everything would be done to facilitate their arrivals.
The Goa airport, meanwhile, has nearly 350 slots booked by charter companies till the end of the tourism season, but, the restrictions on foreign arrivals continue to be the primary reason hindering charter arrivals.