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Thursday, 03 September, 2020, 17 : 00 PM [IST]

Goa's iconic casinos, pubs and cruise ships to remain shut; hotel industry urge govt for tax rebate

According to the India Today, the iconic casinos, pubs and cruise ships of Goa, one of India's biggest tourist places, will remain shut during unlock 4.0. The hoteliers and all those who depends on tourism are worried about their future as the key attractions of the beach city will remain closed for tourists.

Shrinivas Nayak, owner of the 'Pride Casino' and a five star hotel in Goa, said that the tourists will not come to the city to spend time in their hotel rooms.

"With all indoor entertainment activities are closed, the tourists will find it hard to spend time here. Why would anybody fly from Delhi to Goa to spend evening watching TV in the hotel room. The casinos and cruise ships are the icons of Goa," said Nayak.

The hotel industry suffered a massive blow during the consecutive lockdowns and the hoteliers are now hoping that the government will provide tax rebate to help the industry cope with the situation.

"It's not like the government allows and tourists will start pouring in. The process will take time. To help the hotel and tourism sector, the government must provide rebate in taxes," Nayak said.

Some of the hotels that started functioning after relaxation last month have been able to reach an occupancy of merely 10-15 per cent.

Praveen Vashist, Director Operations, The Park, Baga River, said: "We are following all kinds of precautions for the guests. Last month there was an occupancy of 10-15 per cent and this month it is likely to cross 25 per cent. We hope that the government eases the traveling restrictions and allows the bars to open so that more tourists can come to Goa."

The tourists who are reaching Goa through flights have currently three options: whether they produce a Covid-19 negative certificate of test done not before 48 hours or opt for a 14-day home quarantine or undergo a paid rapid coronavirus test.

The director of Goa Airport Gagan Malik, said the airport has enough staff to handle influx of tourists after unlock 4.0.

"Currently, we can handle more flights than what we are handling now following all the protocols of Covid 19. We have taken all measures for a no-contact facility for flyers. There is a smooth sail for tourists out of the airport after opting either of the three options," said Malik.

Goa's beaches are, however, vacant with minimal tourists and all related-businesses are currently facing a nosedive.
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