Goa to write to Centre to allow international charter flights

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The Goa government will be writing to the Union Ministries of Home and Tourism urging them to allow landing of inbound international charter flights, as the coastal state looks to restart international tourism, according to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

The Chief Minister’s assurance comes soon after representatives of tourism and travel industry met Sawant urging him to re-open the international tourism sector, in a bid to reboot the state’s travel industry which has been paralysed by the travel restrictions on account of the pandemic.

“It (allowing international charter flights) is in the purview of the government of India. Until the government of India permits, we cannot start charter flights. We have requested the MHA (Union Ministry of Home Affairs) and the Union Tourism ministry about this. We are also writing to them this time too,” Sawant told reporters on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, representatives of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa met Sawant urging him to restart international charter flights, especially from “safe destinations” like Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan, which have allowed entry to Indian nationals.

In a representation, the two associations have said that the international charter flights should be allowed to land in Goa from October, when the international tourist season begins in Goa.

Sawant said that it was time to think positively about re-opening international tourism in the state, provided all SOPs and precautionary measures are taken.

“We want to think about it positively by following proper SOPs and precautions. Till now we have not finalised. They are asking for resumption of tourism from the month of October,” Sawant said, when asked as to whether the state government was keen on re-opening the sector.

“We are willing. We can positively give it a thought. If the third wave does strike, we could cancel it too,” Sawant said.

Goa is considered one of the top beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country. Before the advent of the pandemic, Goa attracted nearly 8 million tourists, both domestic and international, annually.

–IANS

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