After being heavily affected by the repercussions of the ongoing pandemic, the hospitality industry in Goa is finally heaving a sigh of relief. As per reports, the Central Ministry of Home Affairs has declared that it would issue fresh visas for international visitors coming to India through chartered flights, from October 15 onwards. Being the highest contributor to charter business in India, Goa was waiting for the revival of chartered flights for a long time.
Decision to support and fuel commercial activities in Goa
Reportedly, the coastal state welcomes 2-2.5 lakh charter tourists every year, which accounts for a 92% share in the national business. In view of this, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) had requested multiple authorities for the resumption of chartered flights in Goa. Now, the officials from the association are delighted at the central government's decision, which would support and fuel commercial activities in the territory.
As per reports, the TTAG authorities are waiting for detailed processes and SOPs related to visa procurement. Further, an official from a travel agency informed that the first batch of tourists is expected to arrive in Goa by the first week of November. Notably, the arrival of chartered flights usually begins in the third week of October but the schedule is delayed this year due to the disturbances caused by the pandemic.
A 5-decade history of welcoming foreign tourists
With the arrival of flower children, charter tourism started in Goa in the 1970s. Followed by the flights from the UK, Finland, Poland Germany and Norway, Goa welcomed chartered tourists from Russia in the 1990s, who later formed the largest chunk of incoming tourists. Reportedly, people from Kazakhstan and Ukraine also come to Goa through chartered flights.
As per reports, the MHA has announced the resumption of non-charter foreign tourism from November 15. While the state is all set to open its gates for foreign tourists, the government has asked for complete adherence to COVID protocols by commuters and travel agencies.
- With inputs from TOI