The tourism season in Goa cannot be imagined without charter arrivals and this year due to the Covid restrictions the central home ministry did not allow Charters which resulted in hitting the business very badly.
To take the initiative to persuade the central home ministry to allow the charter flights one of the prominent hospitality industry bodies that represent hotels and restaurants has written and letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to reconsider its Unlock guidelines and permit charter flights to land in Goa.
According to the reports, The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations (FHRA) of India has also written to Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal. In its letters, the FHRA pointed out that it’s still not too late to grant permission, and that business can be salvaged.
They have also cited examples of some countries that have permitted foreign tourists to enter their countries. “Dubai, South Africa, Kenya, and Maldives have permitted foreign tourists to enter their countries after producing a Covid-19 negative certificate.”
Goa’s Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant had written a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) requesting them to permit the charter flights stating that Goa’s hospitality industry is hugely dependent on charters.
“We are very concerned about the huge drop in the occupancy of hotels and joblessness due to massive layoffs in the tourism sector, and even during the current post-pandemic period, we find there are several procedural delays by various government bodies hampering the landing of foreign flights into India…,” said FHRA vice-president Gurbaxish Singh Kohli in the letter.
Goa is the only destination in the country which caters to foreign charters. This year, the director-general of civil aviation (DGCA) has not accepted any applications on the grounds that MHA’s Unlock guidelines do not permit direct charters to land in Goa.
Goa has been receiving charters since the 80s, and this is probably the first time that Goa’s tourism season is likely to be bereft of foreign tourists. On average, Goa received 36 charters from mid-October till March-April.
It may be recalled that Goa’s smaller hotels, which are highly dependent on charter tourists, have decided not to open this season due to no chatter flights. But if the MHA changes its mind and allows the charters in Goa then the situation might improve by January 2021.