Tourism will take a backseat now in Goa, says deputy chief minister

goa tourism

Saving lives is Goa’s primary concern at the moment, and not tourism, the state’s deputy chief minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has said.

Ajgaonkar, who is also the tourism minister of the state, has said that the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, would help Goa build and promote tourism in a legal manner in the future.

“First, we have to save our lives, and tourism is not the immediate concern,” Ajgaonkar told reporters at the State Secretariat on Monday.

The Minister said Goa had been designated as a green zone, but COVID-19 cases began to surge after the Central government eased travel restrictions to facilitate movement through interstate borders, IANS reported.

Goa currently is witnessing a spike in cases with the total tally of COVID-19 active cases reaching almost 500. The state, however, has not yet witnessed a single death on account of the corona complications.

The tourism minister also said that in 2019, the state attracted 1.60 crore tourists, out of which nearly half were put up at illegal premises hired out by app aggregator firms. Most of them were not registered with the tourism department, he said.

Ajgaonkar said that the pandemic, which has brought the state’s tourism industry to its knees, would help Goa promote tourism in a legal manner. “Hotels and guest houses will have to be registered with the tourism department now. Although, we are down to zero right now, we will now use this opportunity to promote tourism in a legal way,” Ajgaonkar said.

When asked how long it would take the state government to revive the tourism industry, the Minister said: “We cannot say how long it will take to revive tourism. Until a vaccine is not discovered, until there is no medical treatment (for Covid-19), we cannot say anything. Tourism depends on tourists. If there are no tourists, how can tourism function?”

Goa is considered as one of the leading beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country.