Goa Tourism News

Begging, hawking, touting: Goa lists ‘nuisances’ at tourist places
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The state government on Monday declared as ‘nuisance’ various tourism-related activities: begging and drinking in tourist spaces, operation of water sports outside designated zones, selling cruise boat tickets other than from authorised kiosks, littering and cooking in open spaces, and hawking at beaches and other tourist places. Director of tourism Nikhil Desai, who issued the order under the provision of Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, said that violators would be fined “Rs 5,000 which may go up to Rs 50,000”, in addition to action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “Such activities are likely to damage or deteriorate the tourism potential of tourist places,” said Desai in his order. Apart from drinking at public spaces including beaches, the order stated that breaking glass bottles and littering can attract penal action. Boating and watersports activities, the order said, has to be conducted within designated zones, while cooking in the open by tourists, which leads to littering, will not be permitted. During peak tourist season — December to January and April to May — when footfalls soar, low-budget domestic tourists often choose to cook along the roadside, a scene more prevalent in coastal parts of North Goa. Over the past few years, touting too has become rampant, and tickets for various activities are sold in the open even as the tourism department has made it clear that tickets should not be sold from counters other than those authorised by it. It has also warned against selling of tickets for watersports activities, and packages or services offered in Malvan or Karwar by unauthorised operators in Goa. Not just tourist places, even towns are now swamped with beggars, including children. The order has listed it as a nuisance. Deck beds and beach umbrellas placed on beaches without permission from the department, the order said, will also be treated as nuisance and confiscated. Driving of unauthorised vehicles on beaches will also be similarly treated. In the past few months, several incidents of people taking their bikes and four wheelers on beaches have come to light. The order has been sent to all police stations, directing them to take action as per Section 13 of the Tourist Places Act if they find violations listed in the order.

Begging, hawking, touting: Goa lists ‘nuisances’ at tourist places
Goa: Greens hold protest at Azad Maidan against draft jetty policy
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Despite strong attempts by the state government to thwart the statewide motorcycle rally organised in protest against the jetty policy, activists, environmentalists and citizens gathered at Azad Maidan where they promised to continue the fight against the government’s policies. Copies of the draft jetty policy were burnt as a symbolic gesture while Goa police personnel kept a close watch on the proceedings. Citizens came in from Loutolim, Assolna, Velim, Cavellosim, Shiroda, Canacona, Old Goa and other parts of the state to participate in the bike rally in solidarity of rivers of Goa, which was scheduled for early evening. “We request the government to scrap the draft jetty policy and if the government really wants to promote jetties for tourism purposes, they must bring out a clear policy only for tourism jetties for that,” said environmentalist Abhijit Prabhudesai. “This government is trying to silence Goans.” He said that the activists will continue to protest not only against the policy for jetties but also against the government’s move to commercialise rivers and coastal areas. Opposition leader Yuri Alemao, Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas, Velim MLA Cruz Silva, St Andre MLA Viresh Borkar and Congress president Amit Patkar were also present for the protest.

Goa: Greens hold protest at Azad Maidan against draft jetty policy
  • Greens hold protest at Azad Maidan against draft jetty policy
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Despite strong attempts by the state government to thwart the statewide motorcycle rally organised in protest against the jetty policy, activists, environmentalists and citizens gathered at Azad Maidan where they promised to continue the fight against the government’s policies. Copies of the draft jetty policy were burnt as a symbolic gesture while Goa police personnel kept a close watch on the proceedings. Citizens came in from Loutolim, Assolna, Velim, Cavellosim, Shiroda, Canacona, Old Goa and other parts of the state to participate in the bike rally in solidarity of rivers of Goa, which was scheduled for early evening.“We request the government to scrap the draft jetty policy and if the government really wants to promote jetties for tourism purposes, they must bring out a clear policy only for tourism jetties for that,” said environmentalist Abhijit Prabhudesai. “This government is trying to silence Goans.”He said that the activists will continue to protest not only against the policy for jetties but also against the government’s move to commercialise rivers and coastal areas.Opposition leader Yuri Alemao, Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas, Velim MLA Cruz Silva, St Andre MLA Viresh Borkar and Congress president Amit Patkar were also present for the protest.

Goa: Nirmala Sitharaman to attend Global Expo India Business summit in November
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Close on the heels of the Invest Goa Summit 2022, the state will now host the Global Expo India, a two-day summit from November 8 which will be attended by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. On the sidelines of the event, countries like Spain, Ecuador, El Salvador, Columbia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritius have shown interest in partnering with Goa for investment and trade in IT/ITES/electronics, logistics, start-ups, research and development, agro and marine food processing, tourism and allied activities, education and entertainment sectors. The Global Expo aims to attract international trade and foreign direct investment and will be held at the International Center, Dona Paula. The Goa chapter of Global Expo India will also be formed during the event. “This event will also mark the launch of GE-India’s Goa Chapter in which the calendar of all the future events will be presented where it will have foreign, national and state pavilions,” stated a note from the department of information and publicity (DIP) . The business summit is being promoted by the directorate of industries, trade and commerce with other state government agencies and industry bodies also showing interest in organising the event. Business Network India (BNI) Goa and Credai Goa, along with Goa Business School, have shown interest in supporting the venture, stated DIP. “The organisers have received an excellent response from World Trade Center’s global network as they had actively participated in the recently concluded virtual WTCA GA 2022 and had fruitful interactions with many centres across the globe who will be participating as business-to-business delegates in all our forthcoming events,” said the DIP note.

Goa: Nirmala Sitharaman to attend Global Expo India Business summit in November
Goa: Pollution board gives green signal to Mopa airport
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: As the Mopa International Airport is set to be inaugurated sometime next month, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) carried out an inspection of the new airport premises last week, based on a request from the GMR Goa International Airport for grant of consent to operate. Conducting the inspection, GSPCB officials, led by chairman Mahesh Patil, saw the working of the different equipment installed at the airport, especially the noise monitoring, waste and water disposal. It was decided to grant consent to operate after inspecting the passenger terminal building, the air traffic control technical building, administration building, cargo and utility building, among others. The new greenfield airport at Mopa is likely to start operations by late November or early December and official with the directorate of civil aviation have already stated that chief minister Pramod Sawant has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a date between November 1 and 20 to inaugurate the new airport. Earlier this month, the GSPCB had granted consent to operate to the All India Institute of Ayurveda and CISF battalion headquarters, which are also, like Mopa, located in Pernem taluka, until now a largely rural sub-district of Goa. The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has already cleared the decks for operations to start from Mopa airport, by issuing the aerodrome licence, certifying the airport safe for handling flights. Now the GSPCB has decided to grant its consent to operate. The inspection by the board was carried out on October 20. The new airport is keenly awaited as the existing airport at Dabolim operates out of the Indian Navy airbase INS Hansa and as December is the peak tourism season for Goa. The airport project will be completed in four phases.

Goa: Pollution board gives green signal to Mopa airport
HC stays ASI order to demolish controversial Old Goa bungalow
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently ordered that the allegedly illegal bungalow in a heritage site at Old Goa shall not be demolished until further orders. The petitioners had moved court after Archaeological survey of India (ASI) had, in August, directed that it be razed. A bench of justices M S Sonak and B P Deshpande granted the petitioners leave “to produce an additional document”.The next hearing is on November 15.Union minister of culture and tourism G Kishan Reddy recently informed TMC MP Mohua Moitra that in August, the ASI had ordered the demolition of the illegal structure in the protected area of the church of St Cajetan in Old Goa. “The ASI issued a demolition order against the illegal construction on August 16, 2022, under the provision of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958,” Reddy wrote to Moitra last week. Moitra had raised the issue about the controversial illegal bungalow at Old Goa’s protected site during ‘Zero hour’ in December last year.The controversy about the illegal structure had erupted a few months before the February 2022 assembly elections, but the BJP-led government maintained a stoic silence. It changed its stance only after the protests against the illegal structure gained momentum with rival political parties having made it an election issue.Earlier, sensing that the agitation was getting stronger, the Old Goa panchayat withdrew the construction licence given to the controversial structure, and also issued a stop work order. The panchayat, however, justified its action of granting the construction licence stating that four basis approvals were granted by other government bodies, including the town and country planning (TCP) department.On December 1, 2021, the TCP issued a revocation order, withdrawing technical clearance it had granted in October 2016 to a former owner of the land.Even after the government’s assurance of due action, the agitators had continued to protest demanding that the illegal construction in the protected site be demolished.

HC stays ASI order to demolish controversial Old Goa bungalow
Sitharaman to attend Global Expo India biz summit in Nov
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Close on the heels of the Invest Goa Summit 2022, the state will now host the Global Expo India, a two-day summit from November 8 which will be attended by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.On the sidelines of the event, countries like Spain, Ecuador, El Salvador, Columbia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritius have shown interest in partnering with Goa for investment and trade in IT/ITES/electronics, logistics, start-ups, research and development, agro and marine food processing, tourism and allied activities, education and entertainment sectors.The Global Expo aims to attract international trade and foreign direct investment and will be held at the International Center, Dona Paula. The Goa chapter of Global Expo India will also be formed during the event.“This event will also mark the launch of GE-India’s Goa Chapter in which the calendar of all the future events will be presented where it will have foreign, national and state pavilions,” stated a note from the department of information and publicity (DIP) .The business summit is being promoted by the directorate of industries, trade and commerce with other state government agencies and industry bodies also showing interest in organising the event. Business Network India (BNI) Goa and Credai Goa, along with Goa Business School, have shown interest in supporting the venture, stated DIP.“The organisers have received an excellent response from World Trade Center’s global network as they had actively participated in the recently concluded virtual WTCA GA 2022 and had fruitful interactions with many centres across the globe who will be participating as business-to-business delegates in all our forthcoming events,” said the DIP note.

Sitharaman to attend Global Expo India biz summit in Nov
Pollution board gives green signal to Mopa airport
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: As the Mopa International Airport is set to be inaugurated sometime next month, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) carried out an inspection of the new airport premises last week, based on a request from the GMR Goa International Airport for grant of consent to operate.Conducting the inspection, GSPCB officials, led by chairman Mahesh Patil, saw the working of the different equipment installed at the airport, especially the noise monitoring, waste and water disposal. It was decided to grant consent to operate after inspecting the passenger terminal building, the air traffic control technical building, administration building, cargo and utility building, among others.The new greenfield airport at Mopa is likely to start operations by late November or early December and official with the directorate of civil aviation have already stated that chief minister Pramod Sawant has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a date between November 1 and 20 to inaugurate the new airport.Earlier this month, the GSPCB had granted consent to operate to the All India Institute of Ayurveda and CISF battalion headquarters, which are also, like Mopa, located in Pernem taluka, until now a largely rural sub-district of Goa.The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has already cleared the decks for operations to start from Mopa airport, by issuing the aerodrome licence, certifying the airport safe for handling flights. Now the GSPCB has decided to grant its consent to operate. The inspection by the board was carried out on October 20.The new airport is keenly awaited as the existing airport at Dabolim operates out of the Indian Navy airbase INS Hansa and as December is the peak tourism season for Goa. The airport project will be completed in four phases.

Pollution board gives green signal to Mopa airport
‘Goa Village’ at Sunburn to showcase state’s culture
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: For the first time, electronic dance music (EDM) festival Sunburn, scheduled from December 28 to 30 at Vagator, will have a new concept ‘Goa Village’, a special cultural zone at the 16th edition of Goa event. Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said that the festival organiser Percept Live accepted their request to showcase Goa’s culture and provide a stage for Goan artistes. Before in-principle approval was granted for Sunburn, Khaunte said they were asked to provide a platform for Goans to display their talent. “This has never happened in the past and we are happy that local artistes have got a platform to show their talent,” he said. He said that he was sure that Goa village at Sunburn will accurately showcase varied and rich Goan culture to the world. “Goans need a platform to perform and display their talent. Visitors to Sunburn will also learn about the art and culture of Goa,” said the minister. The exclusive zone at the festival, the Percept Live stated, will be dedicated to showcasing and promoting vibrant art, culture, cuisine and lifestyle of Goa by locally established and upcoming talents. Neither promoters of the event nor tourism minister named the local artistes who will perform at the festival. “We have not yet received the list of artistes from the organiser after we explained to them what we wanted for Goans,” Khaunte told TOI. Khaunte insisted that the organisers provide a stage at Sunburn for local artistes, though the original idea was that a three-day festival could be extended by a day due to local performances. The tourism minister said it was not feasible to allot December 31 for such a big event, as it is the last day of the year when Goa sees a surge in footfalls and elaborate security arrangements need to be made.

‘Goa Village’ at Sunburn to showcase state’s culture
  • Goa must promote its rich culture and traditions: Speaker
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Pointing out that Goa is only being promoted as a destination for beach tourism, Goa assembly speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Tuesday said there is a need to also showcase the state’s rich culture and traditions to the world. As a step towards achieving this, he said, President Droupadi Murmu and Union ministers have been invited to attend the cultural festival, Lokostav, at Adarsh Gram, Amone, Poinguinim, so that the event is recognised nation-wide.“Today, wherever we go, be it nationally or internationally, Goa’s village culture is not being promoted. Goa is being promoted at a different level, considering beach tourism. We have a strong demand that the state’s culture and traditions be showcased to the world. This will also generate employment,” Tawadkar said. “Not all tourists are interested in beach tourism. They want to explore heritage and culture.”Tawadkar, who is the president of Adarsh Yuva Sangh which organises Lokotsav, said the five-day event will begin on December 7. The concept of the festival, he said, is based on self-reliance and showcasing traditions and cultures that are fast-vanishing. He also said that it seeks to promote Goa’s food culture at a time when it is spreading rapidly across the country. In response to a question over whether the government has been reluctant to promote Lokotsav while lending support to music festivals in the state, Tawadkar said that while some ministers back music festivals, it is also important to promote cultural events like Lokotsav. Today, wherever we go, Goa’s village culture is not being promoted. Goa is being promoted at a different level, considering beach tourism. Not all tourists are interested in beach tourism. They want to explore heritage and culture

More than 850 patients benefitted from Raj Bhavan fund, says guv
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Margao: Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai on Thursday said that elected representatives, government, bureaucracy and Raj Bhavan will work together for the betterment of the people.“The society, administration and Raj Bhavan are with cancer and dialysis patients. God is the ultimate dispenser of justice. Out of 200 types of cancer, 161 types are curable and one can overcome this disease. Fear in our mind about cancer stops once we learn to face it with confidence,” Pillai said at the interaction programme with sarpanchs, panchayat members of Rachol, Camurlim, Curtorim and Raia panchayats held at Raia on Thursday.He distributed a financial aid of Rs 25,000 each to 11 dialysis and seven cancer patients from the Raj Bhavan discretionary fund. Pillai said that Raj Bhavan’s initial target was to provide financial aid to 71 dialysis patients, but till now more than 850 patients were provided the benefit. “Raj Bhavan is provided with Discretionary Fund, and last year it was decided not to use this fund for the purpose of governor or Raj Bhavan, but to use it to provide assistance to the needy people of the state,” Pillai said.He further said that representations presented by all the panchayats on the occasion will be studied and steps will be taken to resolve genuine grievances by placing them before the state and Union government.Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and others also spoke.Pillai also visited the patriarchal seminary at Rachol where he was welcomed by rector of the seminary Fr Aleixo Menezes.On Wednesday, the governor, accompanied by tourism minister Rohan Khaunte, sarpanch of Penha-de-Franca Swapnil Chodankar, and zilla panchayat member Kavita Naik visited Porvorim.Pillai started his tour by visiting Our Lady of Penha-de-Franca Church in Britona and offered special prayers. Fr Matheus Sequeira and Fr Antony Britto were present. Later, he visited Shree Vetal Maha Rudra Mandir in Porvorim before attending a programme at Soccoro panchayat hall where he interacted with elected representatives of three panchayats.

More than 850 patients benefitted from Raj Bhavan fund, says guv
Refund for man who booked Goa resort but cancelled due to Covid curbs
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The Thane additional district consumer disputes redressal commission has directed a resort in Goa and a tourism company to refund the amount paid by a man for a friends’ reunion, which had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.The man, a resident of Navi Mumbai, had said in his complaint that he and his friends had decided to have a reunion in Goa in March 2020. The bookings, worth Rs 6.84 lakh, were made for March 13-15. Of this, the complainant had paid Rs 4 lakh as advance to book the resort.However, soon after, Covid-19 was declared as a pandemic and restrictions were placed on travel.The man told the commission that on March 7, 2020, the resort was informed via an email that he and his friends, who were to come from outside India, could not travel due to the pandemic. The complainant sought for the dates to be rescheduled, to which the resort agreed.As the pandemic situation kept worsening, the man was compelled to cancel the reunion and requested for a refund. When the resort refused, he approached the consumer commission. The commission passed an ex-parte order as representatives of the tourism company and resort did not appear before it.“It is crystal clear that from the terms and conditions of the event coupled with emails relied on by the complainant that due to the supervening act of God viz pandemic Covid-19, the event was cancelled. Therefore, the complainant is justified to claim a refund of the amount,” the commission said last month.It directed that the man be paid Rs 4 lakh, along with an interest of 9 per cent, from the date of the cancellation of the booking.It also said that other expenses, including Rs 2 lakh towards litigation and mental torture, sought by the complainant are “exorbitant and unreasonable”. The commission ordered that Rs 20,000 be paid to the man towards the professional fees of his lawyer.

Refund for man who booked Goa resort but cancelled due to Covid curbs
Mopa set for Nov take-off, airlines keen to use facility
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The new greenfield airport at Mopa is likely to start operations by late November or early December and almost all domestic airlines have evinced interest in flying from the new airport, sources with the directorate of civil aviation and the GMR Group said.On Wednesday, the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) cleared the decks for operations to start from Mopa, making Goa the first small state in India to have two airports, by issuing the aerodrome licence—which essentially means the airport is certified to be safe for handling flights.“All permissions have been obtained. The chief minister has already written to the Prime Minister requesting for a date. We have asked for a date between November 1 and 20. We may get to know shortly,” a senior official with the directorate of civil aviation said.Officials with GMR Goa International Airport Ltd (GGIAL), who have developed the Mopa airport, said that deciding the date for inauguration is the prerogative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.“Now, we have to inaugurate and then commence operations. Almost all the domestic carriers have shown interest in starting operations from Mopa,” the GGIAL official said.Sources with the directorate of civil aviation also confirmed that many airlines have shown keen interest in the new airport. “The landing slots will be fixed shortly. The airlines might wait for a few days to open bookings,” an official said.Airlines like IndiGo have indicated that they will operate from both the existing Dabolim airport and the new one at Mopa, while international airline Oman Air has announced that it will operate only out of Mopa.The new airport is keenly awaited as the existing airport operates out of the Indian Navy airbase INS Hansa. December is the peak tourism season for Goa when airfares skyrocket and international charter flights also increase.As per the concession agreement, GGIAL will have the right to operate the business for 40 years, extendable by another 20 years. The airport project will be completed in four phases. Construction of the second phase will commence only after 80% of the passenger traffic is handled.When the greenfield airports at Bengaluru and Hyderabad were operationalised, it led to the closing of their existing airports at HAL and Begumpet, respectively. At Goa, when the airport at Mopa gets wings, Dabolim will remain active, and a two-airport system with two different operators will exist.

Mopa set for Nov take-off, airlines keen to use facility
Khaunte firm on jetty policy, says it’s only for tourism-related activities
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Following protests by activists and citizens claiming that the proposed jetty policy is against the interests of locals and that it would be detrimental to the ecology, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Thursday said that the policy will be introduced, however, it will be renamed as 'tourism jetty policy'.“We will come out with the jetty policy. But let it be clear to all that it will be a tourism jetty policy,” said Khaunte.“Some say that the jetty policy is being formulated for the benefit of coal transportation. But we are clear that it (policy) is only for jetties which are in operation for tourism activities. We want to regulate those activities and remove touts,” he said.The tourism minister also stated that his ministry has already commenced action against touts at the jetties.“Whatever amendments in the laws that need to be done to streamline the activities, will be undertaken,” he said.Meanwhile, Rainbow Warriors, an association of environmental activists, joined by other not-for-profit organisations, have planned a bike rally in Panaji on Sunday to continue their opposition to the proposed jetty policy.The draft policy has been kept open for suggestions and objections till the end of this month. The deadline to receive objections was extended for the second time 10 days ago after voluntary organisations along with political parties protested outside the tourism department.Though Khaunte has consistently stated that the jetty policy has been proposed to weed out illegal operators, those opposing it are not convinced.

Khaunte firm on jetty policy, says it’s only for tourism-related activities
GFP: Grant relief to shack operators, roll back fee hike
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant must end his “indifference and lethargy towards Goa’s tourism industry” and support the industry by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators, stated Goa Forward Party.GFP president Vijai Sardesai on Wednesday said that Sawant had promised to keep shack licence fees unchanged, but the tourism department has gone ahead and increased the fees, which is a “disastrous situation.”“Despite repeated appeals to rollback the hike and also after an assurance from the chief minister to that effect, the government has gone ahead and implemented the new fee structure,” said Sardesai. “Instead of providing such relief, the government has decided to increase the license fee to erect temporary beach shacks from Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh per year.”The department has also hiked the fees to put up deck beds and umbrellas on beaches from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000, while an additional fee of Rs 10,000 will be levied for garbage collection.“As Goa’s tourism sector tries to recover from serious setbacks in the previous years and limps back to normality, there is uncertainty about the number of international and national tourists reverting to pre-pandemic levels,” Sardesai said. “Given this state of affairs, it is vital that the government supports the industry by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators across the state.”Sardesai said that around 60% of the shack owners have not paid the fees in expectation of a reduced fee structure.

GFP: Grant relief to shack operators, roll back fee hike
Issue over e-visas will be resolved soon, says Mauvin
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Vasco: Transport minister Mauvin Godinho on Wednesday said that the issue of e-visas will be sorted out soon, which will pave the way for more charter flights to land in the state.Godinho was speaking to reporters after the arrival of the first charter flight SCAT Airlines with 180 passengers from Almaty, Kazakhstan.The minister welcomed all the passengers on their arrival at Dabolim airport in the presence of Goa airport director S V T Dhanamjaya Rao, deputy general manager, Bird Worldwide Flight Services Dushyant Kaushal and other AAI officials. “Goa is a brand name by itself, and it is a most preferred destination. Goa is famed for various things and hence the need for two airports arose. People prefer to come to Goa and this trend will continue for years to come,” the transport minister stated.“I am very happy that the first charter flight from Kazakhstan landed in Goa, and very soon Aeroflot is going to get flights from Russia. Thereafter, we can have flights from the United Kingdom as well. I am very happy to welcome the first passenger because Dabolim airport is located in my constituency,” said Godinho, who is also the Dabolim MLA.He also dismissed fears over the closure of Dabolim airport, emphasising that “it will not only survive, but rather grow even more stronger”.Rao stated that the arrival of first charter flight is a good sign for Goa and tourism.The Goa airport director told TOI that 24 charter flights are scheduled to operate in the month of November. “SCAT Airlines, TUI Airlines and Aeroflot slots have been approved to operate this season. In addition, Azur Air from Russia has sought requests for slots,” said Rao.He said that Aeroflot and TUI Airlines didn’t operate during last year’s charter season in view of the pandemic. “Necessary arrangements have been made for smooth arrival and transit of the first charter flight SCAT Airline by adopting necessary protocols for the international arrival of passengers as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) guidelines.

Issue over e-visas will be resolved soon, says Mauvin
Goa Forward Party demands rollback of shack licence fees
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant must end his “indifference and lethargy towards state’s tourism industry” and support it by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators, said Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Wednesday. GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that Sawant had promised to keep shack licence fees unchanged but the tourism department has gone ahead and increased the licence fees, which is a “disastrous situation.” “In spite of repeated appeals to roll back the hike and also after an assurance from the Chief Minister to that effect, the government has gone ahead and implemented the new fee structure,” said Sardesai. “Instead of providing such relief, the government has decided to increase the license fee to erect temporary beach shacks from Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh per year.” The tourism department has also hiked the fees to put up deck beds and umbrellas on beaches from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 while an additional fee of Rs 10,000 will be levied for garbage collection. “As Goa’s tourism sector tries to recover from serious setbacks in the previous years and limps back to normality, there is uncertainty about the number of international and national tourists reverting to pre-pandemic levels,” Vijai. “Given this state of affairs, it is vital that the government support the industry by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators across the state.” Sardesai said that around 60% of the beach shack owners have not paid the fees in expectation of a reduced fee structure. “This habitual indifference toward traditional Goan businesses by the BJP government will wipe the iconic shacks from our beaches and therefore tourists from our state. The season already looks bleak thanks to BJP’s double engine sarkar, with its new visa policy for UK visitors causing damage to Goa’s tourism,” said Sardesai.

Goa Forward Party demands rollback of shack licence fees
  • Goa Forward Party demands roll back of shack license fees
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant must end his “indifference and lethargy towards state’s tourism industry” and support it by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators, said Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Wednesday. GFP president Vijai Sardesai said that Sawant had promised to keep shack licence fees unchanged but the tourism department has gone ahead and increased the licence fees, which is a “disastrous situation.” “In spite of repeated appeals to roll back the hike and also after an assurance from the Chief Minister to that effect, the government has gone ahead and implemented the new fee structure,” said Sardesai. “Instead of providing such relief, the government has decided to increase the license fee to erect temporary beach shacks from Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh per year.” The tourism department has also hiked the fees to put up deck beds and umbrellas on beaches from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 while an additional fee of Rs 10,000 will be levied for garbage collection. “As Goa’s tourism sector tries to recover from serious setbacks in the previous years and limps back to normality, there is uncertainty about the number of international and national tourists reverting to pre-pandemic levels,” Vijai. “Given this state of affairs, it is vital that the government support the industry by providing partial or full exemptions from taxes and fees to small and medium business operators across the state.” Sardesai said that around 60% of the beach shack owners have not paid the fees in expectation of a reduced fee structure. “This habitual indifference toward traditional Goan businesses by the BJP government will wipe the iconic shacks from our beaches and therefore tourists from our state. The season already looks bleak thanks to BJP’s double engine sarkar, with its new visa policy for UK visitors causing damage to Goa’s tourism,” said Sardesai.

‘Visa issues, other factors’: For first time in two decades, Goa won’t be at World Travel Mart
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: For the first time in over two decades, the tourism department will not participate in the World Travel Mart, London, as issues pertaining to visas remain unresolved. "We are having a political bottleneck in resolving visa issues, and with e-visas still not being issued to the UK travellers, it will be a futile exercise to participate in the WTM," tourism minister Rohan Khaunte told TOI. Over the past two years, the WTM was held virtually, due to the pandemic. This year, it is scheduled for November. Besides visa challenges, other factors also led Goa tourism to back out. Khaunte said the UK is facing financial ups-and-downs, and with inflation being at an all-time high there, the cost of participating will escalate. "High expenses will not justify our participation. It would be a junket if Goa tourism were still to participate," Khaunte said. "It's my view and I have always been vocal about it that Goa tourism should not participate in any foreign travel mart and road show unless there is substantial business to be done," he said. "In consultation with the Goa tourism board and stakeholders, we made a conscious decision that unwarranted participation in trade fairs is to be avoided." The tourism minister also said that Goa tourism did not participate in the Paris event which happened last month Goa tourism may have some road shows in the United Kingdom if relations between the countries improve.

‘Visa issues, other factors’: For first time in two decades, Goa won’t be at World Travel Mart
  • ‘Visa issues, other factors’: For 1st time in two decades, Goa won’t be at World Travel Mart
  • Times of India

    Panaji: For the first time in over two decades, the tourism department will not participate in the World Travel Mart, London, as issues pertaining to visas remain unresolved.“We are having a political bottleneck in resolving visa issues, and with e-visas still not being issued to the UK travellers, it will be a futile exercise to participate in the WTM,” tourism minister Rohan Khaunte told TOI.Over the past two years, the WTM was held virtually, due to the pandemic. This year, it is scheduled for November. Besides visa challenges, other factors also led Goa tourism to back out. Khaunte said the UK is facing financial ups-and-downs, and with inflation being at an all-time high there, the cost of participating will escalate. “High expenses will not justify our participation. It would be a junket if Goa tourism were still to participate,” Khaunte said. “It’s my view and I have always been vocal about it that Goa tourism should not participate in any foreign travel mart and road show unless there is substantial business to be done,” he said. “In consultation with the Goa tourism board and stakeholders, we made a conscious decision that unwarranted participation in trade fairs is to be avoided.”The tourism minister also said that Goa tourism did not participate in the Paris event which happened last monthGoa tourism may have some road shows in the United Kingdom if relations between the countries improve. “With Rishi Sunak becoming PM, bilateral relations between the two countries may improve. We may think of having some road shows there, but at a later stage,” said Khaunte. Visa issues have led to the several British holidaymakers cancelling their India plans after the Indian government changed its visa rule that required an applicant to be physically present at the visa centre, even as non-issuance of e-visas had dampened the spirits of travellers. TUI Airways, which had planned to fly four charters a week to Goa beginning from November, altered its plan after travellers started cancelling bookings owing to difficulties in getting appointments for visa clearance.As things stands, Goa will receive one charter a week from the UK starting November 6, while the previous two seasons were a dud in terms of charters, due to the pandemic.“With status quo on visa issues, if Goa participates in WTM, it will have no answers to queries about delays in clearing visa applications,” said Nilesh Shah, president, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).There is no point in marketing, Shah said, when people who applied for a visa have not got it even after being in queue for four to five months.“Industry stakeholders also felt it was not prudent to spend money, with the likelihood of returns being negligible, ” said Shah.TTAG has estimated that the tourism sector may suffer a loss of Rs 80 to 100 crore even if 10,000 UK travellers cancel their bookings.Goa receives around 70,000 to 80,000 UK tourists, of which 40,000 to 50,000 come by charter.

Anxiety in South Goa over Dabolim airport: Lourenco
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Margao: Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco has written to chief minister Pramod Sawant pointing to anxiety among people of South Goa over the impending closure of Dabolim airport after full-fledged operations commence at the new Mopa airport. In his letter, Lourenco, who is supporting the BJP government, stated that despite assurances given by the chief minister and transport minister Mauvin Godinho that Dabolim airport will not be shut for commercial operations regardless of Mopa airport getting functional, “the concern of people of South Goa is increasing.” “The anxiety of South Goa residents is getting further compounded (in view of) a message that is being circulated on social media these days, showing a portion of that letter, dated 01/05/2000 and addressed to the chief secretary, wherein it is mentioned that the existing airport will be closed for civilians on commissioning of the new airport. It is also reported that foreign airlines will be moving to Mopa once the new airport there becomes operational,” Lourenco said in the letter to Sawant.He also pointed out that South Goa is “very much dependent on Dabolim airport because it is a preferred gateway to both international and domestic tourists.”“The eateries, restaurants, shacks, hotels both big and small, guest houses, rent-a-bike operators, taxi operators, musicians, etc, of South Goa are all dependent on the tourism industry. There is a lurking fear that if Dabolim airport is closed for civilian flights, it could lead to massive decrease in the number of tourists visiting South Goa, which in turn will have a cascading effect on tourism in South Goa,” he stated.

Anxiety in South Goa over Dabolim airport: Lourenco