Goa Tourism News

Beer cos urge govt to rethink excise duty, warn of health and social ramifications
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The beer industry has hit out at the Pramod Sawant government’s decision to increase excise duty on the beverage, arguing that the state is indirectly nudging new consumers towards stronger liquor. While calling for a reduction of excise duty on mild beer that has less than 5% alcohol content, beer makers said that the government should tax hard spirits and strong beer.Goa remains an outlier in the country with consumption heavily inclined towards mild beer due to the favourable pricing strategy and tropical climate. With beer becoming expensive, this could change, the beer makers said.“Beer remains the preferred choice of low-alcohol beverage for consumers to enjoy responsibly in a state that hinges heavily on tourism and excise revenue. We urge the local administration to reduce the increase in excise duty on beer that will reduce the overall sales of beer and negatively impact the industry,” said AB InBev’s vice-president for corporate affairs for South Asia, Anasuya Ray.Known for its liberal excise regime, Goa is a preferred tourist destination that attracts over eight million domestic and international tourists annually. For a person consuming alcohol at a bar or restaurant, beer prices will jump significantly because aside from the excise duty, which will be factored into the price, 22% VAT will also be levied at bars and restaurants.“A tourist drinking beer at a restaurant or resort will be paying close to 45% in taxes. Today, tourists from North India have already started flying in with bottles of alcohol and they drink these in their hotel rooms. At the end of the day, the government is losing revenue,” said Goa Bar and Restaurant Owners Association president, Michael Carrasco.“If the government wants to increase its revenue, it should go ahead and increase the excise duty on strong beer and lower the taxes on mild beer, which accounts for 80% of the beer consumed in Goa,” said founder and CEO of Goa Brewing Co, Suraj Shenai. “The government should also either impose hefty taxes on small 180ml bottles of hard liquor, or completely ban such quarters or pouches of hard spirits.”The India Beer Market Outlook 2023 report estimates that beer consumption is expected to grow by more than six per cent, with consumers expected to shift to premium brands and craft beers. Goa, which remains a bright spot for the alcobev industry, is home to several micro-breweries. The excise duty hike has dealt a body blow to them. “This sudden increase in MRP has led to operational challenges, causing disruption in business continuity and ease of doing business in the state during the peak season of tourist inflow,” said Ray.Shenai has an interesting argument. He points out that mild beer, consumed in the company of friends and family, is a much healthier option. “At the end of a hot day, even in the villages, the workers and farmers will sit together and share a beer because it is affordable. If beer becomes more expensive than a 180ml bottle of hard liquor, it means that the government is nudging people towards spirits with higher alcohol content, which is unhealthy and bad for society,” said Shenai.“The government should think of creating a super mild category for beer with relaxation in duty to support low alcoholic beverages. This can be considered a good step towards moderation,” said a representative of a major beer manufacturer.

Beer cos urge govt to rethink excise duty, warn of health and social ramifications
Power outages in Goa: Festival of lights kicks off with no lights
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Residents and tourists began the Diwali season without power supply on Saturday. After assuring citizens of a power cut-free Diwali, citizens in Bardez and Tiswadi were seriously inconvenienced with power outages. Despite the tourism season kicking off, the North coastal belt faced hours of power cuts. “Festival of lights with no electricity... Super job by the electricity department,” a social media user said. The problem persisted in other parts too. “Diwali season started with a seven-hour power cut,” said a resident of Kakoda-Curchorem. People complained of a power cut of more than two hours without any prior notice in the vicinity of Mapusa. Residents of Siolim, out of frustration, visited the power department. However, the department had no answers with the locals alleging that it called for a shut down to lay electricity poles in a particular area. Tourists too were inconvenienced. “Siolim has a big power cut today. We are tourists and are greatly inconvenienced,” a tourist said. “It went in the morning and we were sure power supply would be restored at night but it was cut off again at night,” a woman from the affected ward of Siolim said. The power department said the Tivim-Ponda 110kV feeder tripped and was recharged. Besides, the 11 kV Colvale feeder and 11 kV industrial feeder were found faulty due to heavy rain and lightning, it stated.

Power outages in Goa: Festival of lights kicks off with no lights
  • Power outages: Festival of lights kicks off with no lights
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Residents and tourists began the Diwali season without power supply on Saturday. After assuring citizens of a power cut-free Diwali, citizens in Bardez and Tiswadi were seriously inconvenienced with power outages. Despite the tourism season kicking off, the North coastal belt faced hours of power cuts. “Festival of lights with no electricity... Super job by the electricity department,” a social media user said. The problem persisted in other parts too. “Diwali season started with a seven-hour power cut,” said a resident of Kakoda-Curchorem. People complained of a power cut of more than two hours without any prior notice in the vicinity of Mapusa. Residents of Siolim, out of frustration, visited the power department. However, the department had no answers with the locals alleging that it called for a shut down to lay electricity poles in a particular area. Tourists too were inconvenienced. “Siolim has a big power cut today. We are tourists and are greatly inconvenienced,” a tourist said. “It went in the morning and we were sure power supply would be restored at night but it was cut off again at night,” a woman from the affected ward of Siolim said. The power department said the Tivim-Ponda 110kV feeder tripped and was recharged. Besides, the 11 kV Colvale feeder and 11 kV industrial feeder were found faulty due to heavy rain and lightning, it stated.

‘Tourists will move to other states if Goa doesn’t keep up’
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte has warned that if Goa tourism does not get its act together with regards to watersports activities and break the chain of touts, tourists will move to the beach belts of Karnataka and Maharashtra in the coming years. Every state with a coastline is developing its beaches and offering services for tourists, Khaunte said, referring to the opposition to the proposed jetty policy. The purpose of the jetty policy, he said, is to streamline watersports activities, stop illegalities at jetties and break the command of touts. "We must see the way Malvan is picking up. Tourists seeking quality service and wanting to enjoy watersports will start going to the coastal districts of neighbouring states if we do not have things in order," he said. Recently, when the tourism department had a meeting with watersport operators regarding the proposed jetty policy, they complained that touts operating from Goa hotels offer packages inclusive of watersports activities in Malvan. The minister who has been raising his voice against touts and illegal operators since he took charge of the tourism department, said stakeholders here will realise their folly after tourists move to locations in neighbouring states. "Touts and illegal operators will not lose anything, but we will and they will shift their base to where the business is," he said. Besides Malvan, Khaunte said, Karwar is also being developed. With the help of central funding every state which has a coast is trying to do something to attract tourists. "Tourism is on the agenda of every state which was not the case earlier. Even states such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand which are known for coal mining, are turning towards tourism," said Khaunte.

‘Tourists will move to other states if Goa doesn’t keep up’
Goa: As tourism sector gears for Diwali visitors, beach shacks ready for biz
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Some operators have set up beach shacks while the remaining will be up and ready to operate by next week in time to cash in on the Diwali crowd. Footfalls were low this week but shack operators are of the opinion that the numbers will swell next week. Conventionally, Goa sees a rise in domestic footfalls during the Diwali vacation, the period also marks the beginning of the charter season, though the scenario during the past two years was different due to the pandemic. The season's first charter is slated to arrive from Kazakhstan on October 26. Charters from Russia will start arriving in Goa from November 2 and those from the UK from November 6. "Not all have erected shacks in South Goa beaches yet, but we expect them to be in place by next week. However, negligible footfalls this week has worried operators," president of the Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS), Cruz Cardozo said. A beach shack operator in North Goa said that, with fewer tourists, operators have grown anxious. Popular beach stretches normally see a steady flow of tourists with Calangute, Candolim and Baga grossing highest numbers. Cardozo said that North Goa's beaches receive more tourists than those in South Goa. Cardozo said that they were concerned about 30-odd shack allottees who were denied permissions by the tourism department to set up shacks for having failed to pay the last two seasons fees. A few have received messages from the tourism department in the past three days asking that they pay the pending licence fees within two weeks. "We had asked for three weeks to pay the arrears. Some allottees did not put up shacks during the past two seasons due to the pandemic and had also not paid licence and other fees. We had requested the government that they be permitted to start operations this season if they paid the last two seasons' fees," Cardozo said. The SOWS president said they would request the tourism director next week to grant allottees an additional one week to pay the fees.

Goa: As tourism sector gears for Diwali visitors, beach shacks ready for biz
Goa: In hopes of reduced tariff, 60% of shack owners miss deadline to pay licence fee
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

CALANGUTE: Many beach shack owners along the Calangute-Candolim beach stretch are in a quandary after they failed to pay their licence fees by the October 3 deadline. Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS) general secretary John Lobo told TOI that at least 60% of shack owners did not pay the licence fees after they were assured by chief minister Pramod Sawant that the new increased fees would be reduced. "We had met the chief minister along with Calangute MLA Michael Lobo and Calangute sarpanch Joseph Sequeira to ask the state government to reduce the fees and he had said not to pay the licence fees and the announcement about reduced fees would be made by October 2. So far there has been no announcement. We have been told that the file is pending with the finance department," Lobo said. "Now even those who want to pay are unable to do so because the tourism department says the deadline has passed. We've been trying to meet the tourism minister and the CM to resolve the issue, but they're not giving us an appointment," Lobo said. He added that the state had assured shack owners who had paid the increased tariff that they would get a refund once the reduced fees were announced. Many are also uncertain about setting up shacks because foreign charter arrivals could be low. "Last year 33 shack owners did not pay the fees or set up their shacks because there were no charter tourists," Lobo said.

Goa: In hopes of reduced tariff, 60% of shack owners miss deadline to pay licence fee
First charter from UK set to arrive in Goa on November 6
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: After a gap of two years, the first charter flight from the UK will land in Goa on November 6. Last season, Goa did not receive charters from the UK, the state's one of the traditional markets. A senior official of Le Passage to India confirmed that TUI Airways will start its Goa operations with the first flight on November 6. Goa is scheduled to receive the first charter of the tourist season on October 26 from Almaty, Kazakhstan. Operators are keeping fingers crossed even as the latest development suggests that the time taken to process visa applications will be reduced and enable travellers to continue with their plans for holidaying in India. In the last few days, Indiabound British travellers have cancelled bookings due to visa issues. As of now, TUI Airways will operate one flight a week. It reduced its flights from four to one after people started cancelling booking due to difficulties in securing appointments at visa centres. A tweak in visa rules by the Indian government requires an applicant to appear in person at visa centres. The UK citizens are not eligible for e-visas which has also been a major hurdle for travellers who are keen to travel to India. Tourism stakeholders in the state have petitioned the government several times over the last one and a half year, to include the UK too, in the list of countries whose citizens are issued e-visas. Trade body, Travel and Tourism Association (TTAG), last week estimated that the loss of business to Goa’s tourism industry could be Rs 80 to 100 crore even if 10,000 bookings were cancelled.

First charter from UK set to arrive in Goa on November 6
Panaji locals poke holes in GTDC’s plans for city
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The ongoing projects being executed by Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), along Panaji’s DB Road, will lead to a loss of valuable waterfront land, congestion and chaos in the state capital, said residents of Panaji in a meeting with tourism minister Rohan Khaunte. The residents, who were accompanied by Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate, requested the minister to keep the projects on hold till detailed deliberations were held on the project impact. One of the major concerns of the residents is how the government proposes to deal with the traffic generated by two million visitors that GTDC expects to visit the proposed ropeway project linking Reis Magos fort with Panaji. “The government is unable to deal with the current parking requirements or regulate traffic generated by current activities,” said citizens, who came together under Save Panaji banner.The citizens said that Panaji already suffers from congestion and chaos due to poor traffic management and haphazard parking. They added that privatisation of public recreational land along the waterfront by casinos is detrimental for the capital.They said that the tender for commercial activities at the former Mandovi Riveira Quarterdeck is vague and gives opportunities for all kinds of commercial activities. Khaunte reportedly assured the locals that the riverfront area opposite Hotel Mandovi will be used for a restaurant and a public garden where events can be held.Meanwhile, the Save Panaji group intends to start collecting inputs on the issues affecting the city, complaints and other concerns which need to be resolved by the state government. The citizens intend to hold public discussions, walks and workshops to raise public awareness and “create a dialogue” between policy makers and the citizens.

Panaji locals poke holes in GTDC’s plans for city
Govt nominates two firms to revamp tourism laws
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The state cabinet on Wednesday nominated agencies with the expertise to identify issues in existing laws and suggest changes within the existing legal framework to tackle illegalities in the tourism sector.The state government appointed the Centre for Law, Entrepreneurship and Action Research (CLEAR) and the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), University of Law, Hyderabad, as legal consultants for “preparation of report ascertaining the legal requirements or framework on legislative drafting and related policy assistance or advisory for updating and consolidating legislative framework for tourism for Goa” at a cost of Rs 43 lakh on “nomination basis”.Recently, the state government drew severe criticism from various sections of society over allotting the Kala Academy renovation work to a contractor without following the tender process.The scope of work for the legal agencies, includes review of acts, legislations and policies to identify preliminary issues, review lacunae, follow global best practices, incorporate existing policies within the legislative framework and recommend amendments after consultation with the department and stakeholders.Tourism secretary Sanjeev Ahuja said that the tourism sector in Goa is governed by two key legislations — The Goa, Daman, and Diu Registration of Tourist Trade Act, 1982, and the Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001.Due to several changes in the tourism industry over the years due to advancement in technology, procedures and emergence of new concepts and tourism practices, these acts have become obsolete and are not in consonance with the changing times, he said.Ahuja said that some of the current legislations are unable to act against malpractices and illegalities in a time-bound manner in the rapidly-evolving tourism sector. For example, if any hotel does not have registration with the department then the department has no power to stop the hotel from operating and this has led to illegal hotels operating with impunity, he said.“Ease of doing business is hampered due to the conditions prescribed by tourism laws and other old acts. For example: E-commerce businesses meeting a revenue threshold are required to register in every state under the GST rules. However, under the new Tourist Trade Act, every online travel agency is required to register their business as per provisions of the act, leading to increase in operational and compliance costs for small businesses,” the tourism secretary said.

Govt nominates two firms to revamp tourism laws
Tourism department to host Goa Deepotsav from Saturday
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The department of tourism will be organising Goa Deepotsav 2022 from October 22 to 24 at the Comunidade of Serula Ground, Porvorim. The festival will have varied cultural programme on all three days including classical and semi-classical music performances by renowned musicians and singers from Goa and also outside the state. On the second day of the festival, a Narkasur competition will be held from 10pm onwards. Besides, a fancy dress competition has also been organised. The day will conclude with enactment of ‘Narkasur Vadh’ and burning of the Narkasur effigy at 3am. A ‘Fugdi’ and ‘Dhalo’ competition has been organised on the third day of the festival. There will also be a Akashkandil (lantern) competition on the same day. The festival will have food stalls and stalls by local artisans and self-help groups. A special exhibition will showcase mythological stories and events related to Diwali including ‘Narak Chaturdashi’, ‘Narkasur Vadha’, depiction of the traditional ‘Fov’, ‘Laxmi Pujan’, ‘Gorwancho Padwo’, ‘Dhendlo’ and ‘Tulshi Lagna’.

Tourism department to host Goa Deepotsav from Saturday
  • Tourism dept to host Deepotsav from Sat
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The department of tourism will be organising Goa Deepotsav 2022 from October 22 to 24 at the Comunidade of Serula Ground, Porvorim.The festival will have varied cultural programme on all three days including classical and semi-classical music performances by renowned musicians and singers from Goa and also outside the state.On the second day of the festival, a Narkasur competition will be held from 10pm onwards. Besides, a fancy dress competition has also been organised. The day will conclude with enactment of ‘Narkasur Vadh’ and burning of the Narkasur effigy at 3am.A ‘Fugdi’ and ‘Dhalo’ competition has been organised on the third day of the festival. There will also be a Akashkandil (lantern) competition on the same day. The festival will have food stalls and stalls by local artisans and self-help groups. A special exhibition will showcase mythological stories and events related to Diwali including ‘Narak Chaturdashi’, ‘Narkasur Vadha’, depiction of the traditional ‘Fov’, ‘Laxmi Pujan’, ‘Gorwancho Padwo’, ‘Dhendlo’ and ‘Tulshi Lagna’.

Shenaz Treasury shares tips to travel more responsibly
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

There has long been a push for sustainability in travelling, using more eco-friendly measures to move around from one place to another, so as to reduce the carbon footprint and not burden local communities. Avoiding plastic, carrying your own bottles, switching off lights, fans and AC when not in use are some of the basic things a tourist can and should do.Actor and social media blogger Shenaz Treasury, who keeps posting informative content related to travelling on her Instagram, took to the app once again to post about responsible travelling.Next to a video montage of her various recent journeys, Shenaz wrote, “We’ve all heard about sustainable, green, ethical and ecotourism. We are now finally hearing about destinations, hotels, airlines and other tourism companies branding themselves as eco-friendly and sustainable.”The actor continued, “The increase in tourist numbers on destinations all over the world has a negative impact on resources, the environment and local communities.”  A post shared by Travel, Romance, Smiles (@shenaztreasury)Shenaz also pointed out that some places — like Ladakh — are suffering from the “negative effects of tourism”, which is why it is “really important for us to be responsible travellers”. “There are negative side effects of travel — the place gets burdened and collapses. Example – Candolim beach in Goa, [which] used to be pristine,” she wrote.In the video, the travel blogger shared some essential tips on how to explore a place in a responsible manner.* Pack light, since every extra kg can add to carbon emission, she wrote.* Use public modes of transport.* When out shopping, carry your own bags made of cloth to hold the items.* Support local businesses, buy from them.* Choose accommodations that are sustainable.* Carry an all-in-one adapter to plug in your electronic devices.* Don’t waste food; instead, carry a ‘dabba‘ or a tiffin box to take home the leftovers.* Carry your own water bottle everywhere and refill it from time to time.* Instead of littering, carry a bag to keep your waste products and then dispose of it in a waste bin when you find one.Do you already follow these methods?📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!

Shenaz Treasury shares tips to travel more responsibly
Quepem will be tapped for spiritual tourism: Mantri
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

MARGAO: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Monday said that Quepem taluka holds potential for developing an ecotourism and spiritual tourism circuit to enhance travellers’ tourism experience and that the government will take steps in that direction. He made the statement during his Quepem constituency tour as part of the government’s ‘mantri tumchea dari’ initiative. Khaunte visited various temples and landmark places, including the Shantadurga Kunkalkarin and Shantadurga Fatarpekarin temple in Fatorpa and Mahadev temple in Fatorpa. PWD minister Nilesh Cabral, Sanguem MLA and social welfare minister Subhash Phal Dessai, Quepem MLA Altone D’Costa and former Quepem MLA Chandrakant Kavlekar were among those who accompanied Khaunte. At the Betul fort, Khaunte was apprised of the nuisance created by anti-social elements following which the minister directed police to increase patrolling in the area. Locals also demanded that the Betul fort, which now lies in ruins, be restored to its former glory. Khaunted assured to undertake beautification of the fort after following due process as the fort comes under the jurisdiction of the customs department. He also visited the ONGC office where he was apprised of the various activities of the organisation. At the Nanda lake in Curchorem constituency, Khaunte discussed with Cabral the various development works that can be undertaken there. He later held a meeting with local elected members of panchayats and municipalities and discussed ideas pertaining to the development of the areas under tourism and IT sectors.

Quepem will be tapped for spiritual tourism: Mantri
Drugs worth Rs 3 crore seized till August
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The seizure of 114kg drugs worth over Rs 3 crore during the first eight months of 2022 has caused eyebrows to be raised over the flourishing narcotic trade in the tiny tourism-dependent state, even as police reiterate their zero-tolerance policy toward it. In 2021, a total 135kg drugs was seized. Among the drugs seized are ganja, charas, LSD, MDMA, ecstasy tablets and powder, cocaine, hashish oil, heroin, and cannabis, with ganja making up over 91kg of the total haul. Police said that most of those arrested during drug raids were non-Goans and that most of the narcotics seized were natural, such as ganja and charas. Synthetic drugs, police said, are imported by foreigners and are mostly used during parties. A senior officer said that since the resumption of tourism activities post the pandemic, drugs have also started moving into the state and in an effort to clamp down on the trade a close watch is being kept on peddlers. Goa police has also directed its officials to maintain zero tolerance to drugs and on an average over three narcotic raids are being conducted in the state every week. Recently, Goa police organised an inter-state intelligence coordination meeting on narcotics and other organised crimes during which a discussion was held on the challenges faced and a decision was taken to share information on those involved in the trade. Nearly a decade after an alleged nexus among police, politicians and the drug ‘mafia’ rocked the state, a British peddler arrested for possession of narcotics alleged that he had paid “protection money” to police. The UK national, Stephen Slotwiner, 76, was held last month for possessing drugs worth Rs 15 lakh. Based on his allegations — made during interrogation — police suspended constables Rajesh Yeshi and Appa Parab pending inquiry. The issue of drugs, which has long been simmering beneath the surface, burst on to the spotlight last month, when Hyderabad police alleged that their Goa counterparts don’t cooperate with them when it comes to cracking down on the menace.

Drugs worth Rs 3 crore seized till August
  • Drugs worth Rs 3cr seized till Aug
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The seizure of 114kg drugs worth over Rs 3 crore during the first eight months of 2022 has caused eyebrows to be raised over the flourishing narcotic trade in the tiny tourism-dependent state, even as police reiterate their zero-tolerance policy toward it. In 2021, a total 135kg drugs was seized.Among the drugs seized are ganja, charas, LSD, MDMA, ecstasy tablets and powder, cocaine, hashish oil, heroin, and cannabis, with ganja making up over 91kg of the total haul.Police said that most of those arrested during drug raids were non-Goans and that most of the narcotics seized were natural, such as ganja and charas. Synthetic drugs, police said, are imported by foreigners and are mostly used during parties.A senior officer said that since the resumption of tourism activities post the pandemic, drugs have also started moving into the state and in an effort to clamp down on the trade a close watch is being kept on peddlers.Goa police has also directed its officials to maintain zero tolerance to drugs and on an average over three narcotic raids are being conducted in the state every week.Recently, Goa police organised an inter-state intelligence coordination meeting on narcotics and other organised crimes during which a discussion was held on the challenges faced and a decision was taken to share information on those involved in the trade.Nearly a decade after an alleged nexus among police, politicians and the drug ‘mafia’ rocked the state, a British peddler arrested for possession of narcotics alleged that he had paid “protection money” to police. The UK national, Stephen Slotwiner, 76, was held last month for possessing drugs worth Rs 15 lakh. Based on his allegations — made during interrogation — police suspended constables Rajesh Yeshi and Appa Parab pending inquiry.The issue of drugs, which has long been simmering beneath the surface, burst on to the spotlight last month, when Hyderabad police alleged that their Goa counterparts don’t cooperate with them when it comes to cracking down on the menace.

Free housing for Goa Miles operators on cards: Mauvin Godinho
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

VASCO: Transport minister Mauvin Godinho on Monday said that GoaMiles is here to stay and that the state government is planning to introduce free housing facilities for GoaMiles taxi operators. Godinho, who was speaking to the media at the Dabolim airport after inaugurating the GoaMiles taxi counter reiterated that multimodal transport will soon become a reality in the state. Last year, in view of the agitation by tourist taxi operators, the GoaMiles taxi counter at the airport was shut. “Taxi operators should have faith in the government. With the retaining of the Dabolim airport, tourism activities here will grow. At any cost, GoaMiles has come to stay in the state,” said Godinho, adding that the app will widen its service base by adding motorcycle pilots and rickshaws. “Footfalls will increase with the joining of more multimodal transport modes, making it easier for locals and tourists to travel all over the state,” the minister said. He also said that the state government is planning to introduce free housing facilities for GoaMiles taxi operators in the state by aligning with some central agencies. He has said that some people are trying to misguide taxi operators at the Dabolim airport. “We are here to protect the interest of Goans. We don’t want to hit the business of those operating from Dabolim airport.

Free housing for Goa Miles operators on cards: Mauvin Godinho
  • Free housing for GoaMiles operators on cards: Mauvin
  • Times of India

    Vasco: Transport minister Mauvin Godinho on Monday said that GoaMiles is here to stay and that the state government is planning to introduce free housing facilities for GoaMiles taxi operators.Godinho, who was speaking to the media at the Dabolim airport after inaugurating the GoaMiles taxi counter reiterated that multimodal transport will soon become a reality in the state. Last year, in view of the agitation by tourist taxi operators, the GoaMiles taxi counter at the airport was shut. “Taxi operators should have faith in the government. With the retaining of the Dabolim airport, tourism activities here will grow. At any cost, GoaMiles has come to stay in the state,” said Godinho, adding that the app will widen its service base by adding motorcycle pilots and rickshaws.“Footfalls will increase with the joining of more multimodal transport modes, making it easier for locals and tourists to travel all over the state,” the minister said.He also said that the state government is planning to introduce free housing facilities for GoaMiles taxi operators in the state by aligning with some central agencies.He has said that some people are trying to misguide taxi operators at the Dabolim airport. “We are here to protect the interest of Goans. We don’t want to hit the business of those operating from Dabolim airport.

Goa: To revive tourism post-Covid, government to outsource ‘rebranding’
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The state government had decided to rebrand Goa's tourism to revive the sector that has been showing signs of flagging during and post the pandemic. Towards this endeavour it has invited request for proposals from companies to handle the branding and promotion for the sector in national and international markets. Three companies have responded, so far. Meanwhile, the state government is also in the process of identifying a theme and mission statement for Goa tourism. The agency will have to develop a data driven strategy to identify target priority markets, segments, and audiences with special focus on international markets, rationale, approach, and an appropriate vehicle for promotion, among others. A senior officer said that the agency will have to assess and benchmark the current position of tourism promotion in the state vis-a-vis international, national, and comparable Indian regions/states. "To this extent, the theme adopted, promotional methods, media, tourist arrivals (by category), spend, estimated budgets, pattern of utilisation, effectiveness of tourism promotion, parameters used, and other activities undertaken would be assessed to the extent possible based on available data," the officer said. The officer said that the strategy should be able to identify a theme and mission statement to develop the Goa Tourism brand. "All data sourcing and analysis shall be the responsibility of the agency and the authority will provide reasonable assistance for the same on a best effort basis." The selected service provider will have to prepare a brand manual for Goa tourism for execution and strict adherence across Goa tourism's marketing and promotion, including by empanelled event management agencies, after undertaking critical and detailed review of current branding and advertising strategy. The service provider will have to assist the authority to identify and implement 360-degree media campaigns during the term of the project. "These campaigns will target potential markets, existing markets within and outside the country. The service provider will be required to create and design theme-based campaigns covering all forms of media," the officer said. The service provider will also be required to assist the authority to run these campaigns in different languages as per the regional requirements. The state government has decided to give the task of identifying and engaging bloggers/influencers in the travel and tourism domain to the company selected. "These bloggers will be invited to visit Goa's tourist destinations and be encouraged to communicate about the same in the market," the officer said.

Goa: To revive tourism post-Covid, government to outsource ‘rebranding’
Hampi, Khajuraho on list for G20 culture track
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

AS PART of India’s G20 Presidency between December 2022 and November 2023, the Government is planning to host five key meetings focusing on the “culture track” at Khajuraho, Bhubaneswar, Hampi and Agra, The Indian Express has learnt.These cities have been chosen mainly for well-known monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Taj Mahal and Agra Fort (UP), the Hindu and Jain temples of Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), the Konark Sun Temple around 65 km from Bhubaneswar (Odisha), and the sites at Hampi (Karnataka). Agra will host two of the five meetings, it is learnt.The Government had announced last month that there will be 215 meetings in all, spread across 55 sites, covering most states during India’s G20 presidency. The main summit will be held in September at Delhi’s International Exhibition Cum Convention Centre at Pragati Maidan, which is presently under construction and will be ready by mid-2023.For the culture track, a G20 Secretariat has been set up in the Ministry of Culture, which will hire a professional agency “for research, documentation and coordination work for the G20 work-stream of culture”, according to records reviewed by The Indian Express. Besides the five meetings, around 250 cultural events will be held on the sidelines for delegates for the duration of the G20 presidency, officials said.Setting the cultural agenda for the meetings, the records state: “This presidency also provides a fantastic opportunity for India to shape the global agenda on culture across multiple work streams and engagement areas. These include: a) protection and restitution of cultural property; b) advancement of traditional cultural practices for sustainable living; c) promotion of cultural and creative industries for livelihood generation; and d) preservation and dissemination of culture by leveraging technology.”Earlier, Siliguri, Rann of Kutch, Kashmir and Goa had been finalised as destinations for various G20 meetings by the Ministry of Tourism. Officials said India’s presidency will be used as an opportunity to push the country as a preferred tourist destination, with delegates to be taken on familiarisation tours.During the G20 Presidency starting December 1 this year, India will invite Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and UAE as guest countries. The G20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries — Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US — and the European Union.

Hampi, Khajuraho on list for G20 culture track
Goa to earn additional Rs 50 crore/year from beer excise hike
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The recent hike in excise duty on beer will net the cash-strapped Goa government an additional Rs 50 crore on an annual basis. Goa's liquor industry, which sells close to six million cases of beer every year, has accepted the Rs 10-12 increase in prices, but cautioned the government against tinkering with prices of hard liquor on the eve of the tourist season.The state earns around Rs 500cr a year on excise collections. The Goa government hiked the excise duty on beer by Rs 10-12 per bulk litre, while leaving the excise duty on Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and foreign liquor unchanged. Attempts to increase excise duty on IMFL and foreign liquor will have a ripple effect on Goa's tourism industry and the coming wedding season, said a major alcohol retailer and wholesale dealer. "Beer is a low-hanging fruit and the increase is fine. The question is whether the IMFL and foreign liquor prices will also be increased," said the retailer, who did not wish to be named. Annually, the excise department earns around Rs 500 crore through excise collections. Goa, which has always been known for cheap alcohol rates and liberal drinking policies, is no longer the country's cheapest liquor destination. Hard liquor rates in Delhi, Haryana, and Chandigarh are more affordable, and many north Indian travellers have stopped purchasing hard liquor while flying back home after a wedding, holiday, or business trip. The Maharashtra government has also threatened to invoke the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on people who bring liquor from Goa into the state, a move that many have described as "fear mongering" and blown out of proportion. However, alcohol retailers have already seen a "significant drop" in sales of hard liquor "What is worrisome is that the government does not take stakeholders into confidence," said a South Goa-based retailer. "Increasing excise duty is the government's prerogative, but it should not happen just before the season starts. Establishments have printed new menus, purchase orders have been placed and budgeting has happened. Any sudden increase squeezes the margins and locks up working capital." Speaking to TOI, a government official said the excise department chose to touch only beer prices because IMFL and foreign liquor rates are already comparable with neighbouring states. "The government will earn around Rs 50 crores additional revenue over a year by increasing beer prices," said the government source. "It will not lead to a shift towards drinking hard liquor because people drink as per tastes and not based on prices." For a person consuming alcohol at a bar or restaurant, beer prices will jump significantly, because aside from the excise duty which will be factored into the price, VAT will also be levied on the sale. "The state government needs to look at Delhi and other states and try to earn revenue by increasing volumes," said Goa bar and restaurant owners association president, Michael Carrasco. Stakeholders from the alcohol-beverage industry said that while the government rakes in revenue from alcohol sales, the funds should be used to collect and recycle the millions of bottles that are subsequently discarded or broken.

Goa to earn additional Rs 50 crore/year from beer excise hike
  • Goa to earn additional Rs 50 crore/year from hike in excise on beer
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: The recent hike in excise duty on beer will net the cash-strapped Goa government an additional Rs 50 crore on an annual basis. Goa’s liquor industry, which sells close to six million cases of beer every year, has accepted the Rs 10-12 increase in prices, but cautioned the government against tinkering with prices of hard liquor on the eve of the tourist season. The Goa government hiked the excise duty on beer by Rs 10-12 per bulk litre, while leaving the excise duty on Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and foreign liquor unchanged. Attempts to increase excise duty on IMFL and foreign liquor will have a ripple effect on Goa’s tourism industry and the coming wedding season, said a major alcohol retailer and wholesale dealer. “Beer is a low-hanging fruit and the increase is fine. The question is whether the IMFL and foreign liquor prices will also be increased,” said the retailer, who did not wish to be named. Annually, the excise department earns around Rs 500 crore through excise collections. Goa, which has always been known for cheap alcohol rates and liberal drinking policies, is no longer the country’s cheapest liquor destination. Hard liquor rates in Delhi, Haryana, and Chandigarh are more affordable, and many north Indian travellers have stopped purchasing hard liquor while flying back home after a wedding, holiday, or business trip. The Maharashtra government has also threatened to invoke the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on people who bring liquor from Goa into the state, a move that many have described as “fear mongering” and blown out of proportion. However, alcohol retailers have already seen a “significant drop” in sales of hard liquor “What is worrisome is that the government does not take stakeholders into confidence,” said a South Goa-based retailer. “Increasing excise duty is the government’s prerogative, but it should not happen just before the season starts. Establishments have printed new menus, purchase orders have been placed and budgeting has happened. Any sudden increase squeezes the margins and locks up working capital.” Speaking to TOI, a government official said the excise department chose to touch only beer prices because IMFL and foreign liquor rates are already comparable with neighbouring states. “The government will earn around Rs 50 crores additional revenue over a year by increasing beer prices,” said the government source. “It will not lead to a shift towards drinking hard liquor because people drink as per tastes and not based on prices.” For a person consuming alcohol at a bar or restaurant, beer prices will jump significantly, because aside from the excise duty which will be factored into the price, VAT will also be levied on the sale. “The state government needs to look at Delhi and other states and try to earn revenue by increasing volumes,” said Goa bar and restaurant owners association president, Michael Carrasco. Stakeholders from the alcohol-beverage industry said that while the government rakes in revenue from alcohol sales, the funds should be used to collect and recycle the millions of bottles that are subsequently discarded or broken.

  • Beer to cost more in Goa with excise duty hike
  • The Indian Express

    The prices of beer will go up in Goa with the state government increasing the excise duty on it by Rs 10-12 per litre.The state excise department announced the hike two days ago.Goa Liquor Traders’ Association president Dattaprasad Naik said the price of light beer would increase by Rs 15 per bottle, that of strong beer by Rs 20-25 while premium beer will be costlier by Rs 30 per bottle.Majority of beer consumers in Goa are locals as tourists prefer Indian Made Foreign Liquors (IMFL), he told PTI.

  • Beer to get costlier in Goa as govt hikes excise duty
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The state government has hiked the excise duty on beer by Rs 10-12 per bulk litre, while leaving the excise duty on hard liquor unchanged. The move will add further woes to the liquor industry, which has already pointed out that alcohol prices in the state are no longer the lowest in the country. The Pramod Sawant government’s decision to increase the price of beer comes at a time when the Maharashtra government has clamped down on the transportation of alcohol into the state. Maharashtra has threatened to invoke the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on people who bring liquor from Goa into the state. One of the most popular tourism destinations in the country, Goa is known for its liberal liquor regime, where alcohol is taxed less than other states, especially neighbours Karnataka and Maharashtra.“Foreign liquor across north Indian states is cheaper than in Goa. Counters across the state have registered a drop of 30-40% on sale of foreign liquor as a result,” president of the Goa Liquor Traders Association, Dattaprasad Naik had recently said. The finance department’s move to hike the excise duty on beer will now further narrow the price gap. While entry-level beer attracted Rs 30 per bulk litre, the excise duty has now been enhanced to Rs 42 per bulk litre. In the premium segment, strong beer with more than 5% alcohol content and where the retail price exceeds Rs 160 per bottle, a duty of Rs 60 per bulk litre has been imposed, as against Rs 50 per bulk litre earlier.

Goa: Protesters seek Rohan Khaunte’s resignation over jetty policy
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Voluntary organisations, Congress and Revolutionary Goans, on Friday, protested outside Paryatan Bhavan at Panaji to oppose the proposed jetty policy. The protesters sought tourism minister Rohan Khaunte's resignation for attempting to introduce the policy, which they said lacked clarity. The proposed jetty policy was thrown open for public suggestions and objections last month, and since then the tourism department has twice extended the last date to receive objections. While the policy has been in the making for several years, the draft was readied only recently, with the tourism minister being very clear that he wants a system in place to operate jetties under the domain of the tourism department. "The proposed jetty policy is not backed by a scientific study. It is vague and lacks clarity," said environmet activist Abhijit Prabhudesai. Opposition leader Yuri Alemao, who also joined the protest, said the proposed draft policy will be "disastrous for Goa's ecology," and that it should not be allowed in its present form. "We will oppose the policy which has been prepared without taking people into confidence. The tourism department is not equipped to draft such policies," he said. RG chief Manoj Parab said that people should oppose the policy. "I appeal to all to reject the policy, protest in your village, and do not allow the policy to be approved," Parab said.

Goa: Protesters seek Rohan Khaunte’s resignation over jetty policy
  • Protesters seek Khaunte’s resignation over jetty policy
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Voluntary organisations, Congress and Revolutionary Goans, on Friday, protested outside Paryatan Bhavan at Panaji to oppose the proposed jetty policy. The protesters sought tourism minister Rohan Khaunte’s resignation for attempting to introduce the policy, which they said lacked clarity.The proposed jetty policy was thrown open for public suggestions and objections last month, and since then the tourism department has twice extended the last date to receive objections. While the policy has been in the making for several years, the draft was readied only recently, with the tourism minister being very clear that he wants a system in place to operate jetties under the domain of the tourism department.“The proposed jetty policy is not backed by a scientific study. It is vague and lacks clarity,” said environmet activist Abhijit Prabhudesai.Opposition leader Yuri Alemao, who also joined the protest, said the proposed draft policy will be “disastrous for Goa’s ecology,” and that it should not be allowed in its present form. “We will oppose the policy which has been prepared without taking people into confidence. The tourism department is not equipped to draft such policies,” he said. RG chief Manoj Parab said that people should oppose the policy. “I appeal to all to reject the policy, protest in your village, and do not allow the policy to be approved,” Parab said. The government, he said, should explain what kind of job opportunities are available for locals in the tourism sector. Another protester sought to know if the government has any plans to conduct an ecological impact study wherever a new jetty is being proposed. “A lot of Goans are dependent on tourism. The department should primarily focus on resolving e-visas, but with its faulty policies, it is killing tourism,” said the protester.

Jetty policy not for coal, fishing: Khaunte
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Amid strong protest against the draft jetty policy 2022, tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Friday clarified that it is only for the existing jetties for tourism activities and not for coal, fishing or any other activities.Khaunte said that he will rename jetty policy as tourism jetty policy as the former has wider ambit. He added that to generate employment and clear illegalities, the policy was required.“Tourism policy is meant for tourism and for nothing else. Let protestors tell where coal and fishing jetties are mentioned in the policy. We will regulate what is irregulated as far as services are concerned, as it is impacting the state’s tourism sector. we will take public view and go ahead,” he said.“We have never spoken on constructing new jetties. It is not our right to construct jetties, but it is the captain of ports’ right to decide on construction of new jetties. Where we are getting into this. We are very clear that we are sticking to our point,” Khaunte said.The state government has extended the time for filing objections and suggestions for the draft jetty policy till October 31 for the public.Khaunte said, “We are clear and transparent. We are accountable to the people and stand by it. We will invite protesters post-October 31 to discuss the policy.”Speaking to media persons near the BJP headquarters, Khaunte raised doubt whether protesters have really read the policy.“Those who think they are intelligent and know every subject should first know that we are sticking to our words of saying it is tourism jetty policy. Jetty policy is only meant for tourism activities. In the policy there is no mention of coal, fishing and allied services. Those who are creating these stories are trying to misguide the people of the state,” Khaunte said.The tourism minister said that the draft policy is both in English and Konkani as per the demand of the public.Reacting to the protest, Khaunte said that it is everybody’s right to protest in democracy. “I appeal them to first understand the policy. If something is doing good for the state, then support it. It has become a habit to oppose each and everything. Government today is very clear that we need to get our things in a clear functioning manner. Today, we face a threat from neighbouring states to Goa tourism and we have to get our acts right,” Khaunte said.The tourism minister said that those who have put their objection and suggestion, the government is holding talks with them.

Jetty policy not for coal, fishing: Khaunte
Amit Shah assures CM Pramod Sawant of resolving UK e-visa matter soon
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said that Union home minister Amit Shah has assured to resolve at the earliest the UK e-visa issue that has proved a damper for Goa’s tourism industry this season even as the sector is trying to recover from the hit it took during the pandemic years. Tourists from the UK form the largest number of overseas visitors to the state and the chief minister had met Shah on Wednesday and discussed the issue of the e-visa among other matters pertaining to the state, including that of mining resumption. Shah assured the CM of reducing the export duty on low-grade iron ore to facilitate mining to restart in the state. “I have discussed the e-visa issue and Shah has assured me that e-visas will soon be issued to citizens of the UK and other countries,” Sawant said, adding that he explained the importance of UK tourists to Goa’s tourism industry and the impact it will have on the state’s tourism sector in case they don’t come. Non-issuance of e-visas to UK travellers had led to cancellation of charters from the UK to Goa, this year. India’s changed rules have increased the wait and hassle involved in getting a tourist visa by way of the requirement for a traveller to make physical visits to the visa centre preceded by a prolonged wait for an appointment for the same. The Union government had stopped issuing e-visas during the pandemic but recently restored it for some countries. Hotelier Ralph de Sousa said that there are long queues for Indian visas for citizens from the UK and some other countries. “If the Union government does not issue e-visas then the UK tourists will not visit Goa and it will affect our tourism season.” Sousa, however, said that Goa will receive charters from Russia. After Russia, the UK has been the biggest market for the state and receives repeat tourists. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the scene. Recently the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) petitioned the chief minister to take up with the Centre the matter of issuing e-visas to citizens of the UK and other nations that have been excluded so far. Goa did not receive charter tourists last season, while another category of travellers — free, independent travellers (FITs) — largely avoided visiting India after the UK was excluded from the list of countries eligible for Indian e-visas. Speaking on the mining issue, Sawant informed Shah about leases that have been put up for auction and urged him to reduce the export duty on low-grade iron ore so that the auction can get a good response. “Shah has assured me to reduce export duty,” Sawant said. In May, the Union government increased export duty on iron ore below 58 grade from zero to 50%. Most of the iron ore produced in Goa is low grade (below 58 grade), and most of it is exported. The Union government also hiked export duty on iron ore above 58 grade to 50% from the existing 30%. After the intervention of former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, the Centre in 2016 had reduced the export duty on below 58 grade iron ore to 0% to boost its export from Goa.

Amit Shah assures CM Pramod Sawant of resolving UK e-visa matter soon
Goa could lose Rs 100 crore if UK visa issues not sorted out: Travel body
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: A prominent travel trade body said on Thursday that if the delays in issuance of visas to UK travellers are not reduced, Goa's tourism sector could possibly see losses to the tune of Rs 80-100 crore. "Even if we assume that 10,000 travellers cancel their holiday plans to Goa, the overall impact on the hotel industry would be huge. The average stay of a (charter) tourist being ten nights, we would lose around 1 lakh rooms," said TTAG president Nilesh Shah. Smaller hotels are highly dependent on charter tourists, while the past two seasons were extremely bad for them even as starred hotels remain afloat, with Goa becoming a preferred destination for all segments of desi tourists. The state has around 400-500 hotels with three and fewer stars. Apart from the loss to hotels, which would be around Rs 30 crore, Shah said that a multiplier effect will escalate losses for the industry. Tourists may go where visas are easier: TTAG Tourists spend on transport, liquor, food, entertainment, as well as shopping. If all factors are considered, the overall impact on the economy could be in the range of Rs 80-100 crore," Shah said. Even as the tourism industry has survived the pandemic with increased domestic footfalls, Shah said it is crucial for Goa that it does not lose the UK, because it is not easy to regain lost markets. Currently, with the wait period to get a normal visa being two to three months for a UK citizen, the TTAG president said that if steps are not taken to issue visas expeditiously, leave alone e-visas, potential travellers will likely avoid Goa, and may go to Bali, Turkey, Thailand, or any other destination that issues visa without hassle. "Once a customer moves out of the destination, it is difficult to recapture a market. Goa has experienced it. After charters from countries such as Finland, Germany, and Poland were stopped a few years ago, it has not been able to reclaim them," Shah said. While India does not issue e-visas to UK citizens, they also face difficulties in securing regular visas. A recent change in visa rules requires a British holidaymaker to appear in person at the visa centre. While operators are seeing regular cancellations of bookings to Goa, Shah said that they have not yet received the exact numbers of bookings cancelled so far. A local operator also told TOI that they would have more clarity over total bookings cancelled by next week. Before Covid hit, Goa would annually receive around 45,000 charter travellers and a few more thousands of free independent travellers (FITs), but since March 2020, it has not received a single charter from England. Last season, Tui Airways cancelled its Goa plan due to the third wave of Covid as well as India not issuing e-visas to UK visitors. This season, it had committed to fly four flights a week from next month, but brought down the number to one, with its clients cancelling bookings due to visa-related issues.

Goa could lose Rs 100 crore if UK visa issues not sorted out: Travel body
  • Goa could lose Rs 100cr if UK visa issues not sorted out: Travel body
  • Times of India

    Panaji: A prominent travel trade body said on Thursday that if the delays in issuance of visas to UK travellers are not reduced, Goa’s tourism sector could possibly see losses to the tune of Rs 80-100 crore. “Even if we assume that 10,000 travellers cancel their holiday plans to Goa, the overall impact on the hotel industry would be huge. The average stay of a (charter) tourist being ten nights, we would lose around 1 lakh rooms,” said TTAG president Nilesh Shah.Smaller hotels are highly dependent on charter tourists, while the past two seasons were extremely bad for them even as starred hotels remain afloat, with Goa becoming a preferred destination for all segments of desi tourists.The state has around 400-500 hotels with three and fewer stars. Apart from the loss to hotels, which would be around Rs 30 crore, Shah said that a multiplier effect will escalate losses for the industry.“Tourists spend on transport, liquor, food, entertainment, as well as shopping. If all factors are considered, the overall impact on the economy could be in the range of Rs 80-100 crore,” Shah said. Even as the tourism industry has survived the pandemic with increased domestic footfalls, Shah said it is crucial for Goa that it does not lose the UK, because it is not easy to regain lost markets. Currently, with the wait period to get a normal visa being two to three months for a UK citizen, the TTAG president said that if steps are not taken to issue visas expeditiously, leave alone e-visas, potential travellers will likely avoid Goa, and may go to Bali, Turkey, Thailand, or any other destination that issues visa without hassle. “Once a customer moves out of the destination, it is difficult to recapture a market. Goa has experienced it. After charters from countries such as Finland, Germany, and Poland were stopped a few years ago, it has not been able to reclaim them,” Shah said.While India does not issue e-visas to UK citizens, they also face difficulties in securing regular visas. A recent change in visa rules requires a British holidaymaker to appear in person at the visa centre. While operators are seeing regular cancellations of bookings to Goa, Shah said that they have not yet received the exact numbers of bookings cancelled so far.A local operator also told TOI that they would have more clarity over total bookings cancelled by next week. Before Covid hit, Goa would annually receive around 45,000 charter travellers and a few more thousands of free independent travellers (FITs), but since March 2020, it has not received a single charter from England.Last season, Tui Airways cancelled its Goa plan due to the third wave of Covid as well as India not issuing e-visas to UK travellers.This season, the airline had committed to fly four flights a week from next month, but brought down the number to one, with its clients cancelling bookings due to visa-related uncertainties.