Image courtesy: IncredibleIndia.org
The Goa government on Sunday said that although the coronavirus pandemic has brought all the economic activities to a grinding halt, it was now taking steps to revive the economy, especially the tourism sector.
Tourism is considered the backbone of Goa's economy. The state attracts a large number of domestic and foreign travellers.
State ministers on Sunday expressed confidence that Goa would once again bounce back as the favourite tourist destination as the state government has put in place "stringent" measures to tackle the COVID-19 situation.
Goa Industries Minister Vishwajit Rane, who also handles the health portfolio, said that it is time tourism and other economic activities resume in the state.
"Goa has an excellent recovery rate as far as COVID-19 patients are concerned. Recently, there was a sudden rise in the number of cases, which has come down now," he said.
Goa currently has 28 active cases. Of the total 70 positive patients found in the state so far, 42 have recovered.
"People have to earn livelihood. We need to restart the economic activity and Goa is known as a tourist destination. As we have enhanced the testing measures under the guidance of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, we are confident that Goa will bounce back as a tourism spot once again," he said.
Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said, "Tourism has been the backbone of Goa's economic activities. However, the pandemic has left an adverse impact on it. The resumption of the industry will give the much-needed boost to the economy."
"Once hotel industry restarts, we will ask them to adopt measures of social distancing as per the Union Home Ministry's guidelines. The restaurants and other activities are opening up. We don't expect a huge inflow in the first few days, but gradually people will start coming in," he said.
The state is ready to welcome tourists once the situation improves, he said.
A senior Tourism Department official said that the beach shacks and the hotel industry remained shut right from the time when Janata Curfew was imposed in March.
"The department had ordered that the beaches be shut down to ensure that people don't venture out during the lockdown. The industry has to a standstill," he said.
"There have been no tourists in Goa, except some foreigners, who continued living in the rooms rented out to them on long-term basis," he said.