Fresh lockdown in Goa to affect tourist sentiment


Panaji, Jul 16 (IANS): The Goa government's sudden announcement of a lockdown may have affected the tourist sentiment and confidence building efforts made by the state's tourism industry to lure tourist footfalls to the coastal state, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president Nilesh Shah said on Thursday.

Shah, who heads one of the oldest bodies of travel and tourism stakeholders in Goa, also said that despite the state government opening its doors to the tourists from July 1, trade had not picked up and that only "5 to 7 per cent" hotels were witnessing some bookings.

"What is badly affected is the sentiment and the confidence that we were gradually building. The continuity has also been interrupted. The sentiment was already decreasing because of the rising number of cases and there is no clear way forward. Now it has gone down even more," Shah told reporters here.

The comment from the president of the industry stakeholders' body comes a day after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday announced a two-tiered curfew in the state.

While a complete lockdown (barring essential and medical services) has been ordered in Goa from Thursday night to Monday morning, a night curfew has been imposed until August 10, in view of the prolonged spike in the number of active Covid-19 cases in the state which have crossed 1,000, in India's smallest state with a population of just 1.5 million. Most of the cases have been reported over the last one month. Sawant had said the state could be heading towards peak numbers, especially in view of the monsoons, when he said there was a tendency for viral infections to increase.

Shah said that despite the state government opening up the state for tourism on July 1, "real tourism" had not started.

"Generally speaking, tourism hadn't really picked up in the state with only 5-7 per cent hotels having some occupancy and that too was only people of the younger, more care-free generation," Shah said.

"The real tourism in which people travel with their families has yet to begin and with bars and swimming pools closed that will take some time to restart," he added.

The official also said that the industry stakeholders were awaiting a formal notification from the district administration explaining further details about the lockdown.

"We are awaiting the notification from the (District) Collectors which will tell us what exactly will be opened and closed. But we understand that flights will not be affected. So tourists already in the state may not be affected a great deal," Shah said.

 

  

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