Strict enforcement of protocol for entry to Goa, quarantine centre for tourists and putting off high-capacity events like electronic dance music (EDM) festivals till March 2022, are some of the measures recommended by tourism industry stakeholders in the state to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in order to "re-build the image of Goa to all tourists".
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, one of the state's oldest industry stakeholder bodies has also called for a collaboration with the Goa Tourism Ministry in order to make good the negative publicity which the state had received in the wake of the second wave of the Covid pandemic, which saw hundreds of lives lost and hospitals overflowing with patients.
"No high capacity events such as Hunar Haat, Sunburn, religious or entertainment events to be allowed till March 2022. These events are super spreaders," the Association's president Nilesh Shah said in a letter addressed to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday.
"Keeping in mind, the second wave of the pandemic and the negative publicity that Goa has generated over the past month, we at TTAG feel that we need to rebuild the image of Goa in the eyes and minds of all tourists," the letter also said, adding that the tourist state had suffered negative publicity over the last two to three months and the damage caused by it to Goa's image needed to be undone.
The Association also said that the government should ensure and amplify the availability of enough oxygen beds, testing centres, quarantine centres, on-time treatment, quick recovery rates, emergency response teams to build tourist confidence.
The letter has also called for setting up special quarantine centers near the airport, railway and main bus stands for arriving tourists, while also advocating strict enforcement of entry protocol, including setting up of mandatory testing facilities or vetting of Covid-19 negative certificates.
"Officers at these entry points should be properly trained and strict enforcement with accountability of officers posted with strict penalties for any mistakes and negligence of duty," Shah said in his letter.
Clear and no-nonsense signages urging tourists to follow Covid-19 protocol should also be set up at high traffic locations like tourist sightseeing points, beaches, religious institutes, monuments, casinos, cruise boats, etc, the letter also said.
The Association has also said that all tourism related businesses should be issued notices to ensure functioning up to only 50 to 75 per cent of their carrying capacity for the next six months.
"All tourism related businesses should only take 50-75 per cent of their actual carrying capacity for at least six months to ensure social distancing. Actual carrying capacity of each premises should be clearly displayed and the reduced capacity should be stated," the letter said.
Goa, one of the top beach tourism destinations in the country has had to virtually shut down the tourism industry in the wake of the second Covid wave, which saw the state top the rate of positivity charts in the country.