PANAJI, India — A state in western India known for its travel and tourism sector, Goa continues to suffer as the state sees low footfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Goa Minister Michael Lobo, on Aug. 12, said that tourists are visiting Goa with RT-PCR negative certificates.

“We welcome them, but they’ve to wear masks and followCovid-19 protocols. We’ve to be careful and understand that it’s a pandemic. Resorts have reopened but getting very few customers.”

The Covid-19 guidelines for tourist entry in Goa include a number of steps to be kept in mind before entering the state.

As per the guidelines, pre-booking of accommodation (registered with the Department of Tourism) is mandatory. All tourists will have to undergo a basic screening at the entry point. If any tourist is traveling without the RT-PCR report, he/she will be directed to undergo testing for Covid-19, followed by isolation until the reports are negative.

“The whole country is suffering from Covid-19, we need to have patience, we are welcoming tourists to Goa with RT-PCR negative report or both doses of vaccination certificate and antigen test when they come to the state,” he further said.

Goa has long been identified as a major tourism destination in India and the world over. Goa’s economic growth is driven by the strong performance of its industrial sectors such as fishing, agriculture, tourism, and pharmaceuticals.

A new Goa tourism policy 2020 has been framed to offer a uniquely ‘Goan’ experience to visitors by presenting a versatile concoction of historical, natural, ethnic, cultural locations and attractions.

After the low footfall of tourists, many businesses in the tourism sector has seen losses over the past year,

“We have had no business in the last one year. I have 50 vehicles, and booking is very low. We are surviving on loans from friends. Government should give us some subsidy.” said Javed Khan, owner of Diana tours and travels.

“Business is low, and people are struggling. The business will re-start once tourists come. People are scared and hesitant to come,” said Prem Kumar, a restaurant manager.

Earlier, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, on June 28, 2021, welcomed the decision of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide a financial package to revive the tourism sector, which has been hit hard due to Covid-19.

Sitharaman announced the relief package for INR 6,28,993 crore ($8,466 million) to support the Indian economy in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The financial support to revive tourism in the country was announced with support to many other sectors to stimulate economic growth.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Pallavi Mehra

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