The welcoming breeze, the golden sand, and the dazzling all-pervading sunlight piercing through our porcelain skin are all that welcome tourists into the glorious lands of the Indian state of Goa.
The small state of around 18 lakh people, all welcoming and affectionate towards tourists, is scattered with numerous travel destinations. Let it be the white sands of Palolem beach, the beauty of Ashwem beach filled with palm trees, or the religious site of Basilica de Bom Jesus, the diversity seen here overpowers any other destinations in India.
But due to Covid-19, despite the rising footfalls, the tourism sector has seen a heavy downfall in its numbers. Even November and December, normally considered the peak season of Goa’s tourism, could not meet its usual gathering.
Due to the numerous restrictions forced by the government due to Covid-19, tourists find it difficult to cope up with this situation. People have gone as far as shortening their trips, and even to the extent of carrying home-cooked food to avoid eating out.
This has become a worrying situation for the state as tourism in Goa used to directly contribute 16.43% of revenue towards the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and approximately 35% of the state’s population is directly employed by the tourism sector.
Due to these factors, the travel and tourism association (TTAG) is eagerly waiting for the government to relax all restrictions so that the tourism sector can bloom again to its enormous glory.
Opposing this proposition, the expert committee unanimously decided to ask the government not to open tourism so soon and wait for the fortunate days of lower Covid-19 cases that are yet to come.
TTAG president Nilesh Shah expressed, “Unless a positive message goes around, we will not see a steady flow of tourists. We may see some footfalls in August as there are a few public holidays, but there would not be a heavy rush”.
With the rising number of Covid-19 cases and the third wave awaiting to attack with its full potential, the expert committee has decided to reduce the number of days between 2 doses of covishield from 84 days to six weeks.
The committee says that people traveling in Goa who are fully vaccinated are exempted from showing their Covid-19 negative certificates provided they do not have any symptoms of the virus.