Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Saradha Natarajan
Goa, the tourist paradise of India, is witnessing a significant arrival of foreign and local tourists. Not just through flights, tourists are also entering the state through roads as the borders are now entirely open to the public. It seems as if Goa is existing in a parallel atmosphere with out-of-towners flocking the state.
As Goa’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, stakeholders are happy to be earning their bread again. However, it has left locals stressed and anxious about an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases.
Goa’s already burdened health infrastructure will not be able to cope with the influx of tourists if people continue to travel irresponsibly, i.e., in not crowds and with masks.
The Miramar beach and the Panjim market in Goa are seen crowded with domestic and international tourists who have no regard for social distancing. Tourists roam about as though COVID-19 is a myth!
We must understand that while Goa is open for tourism, we are still fighting against the deadly pandemic and we need to be safe. In this regard, the government’s decision to open the door for tourism by lifting all restrictions has left Goans angered and worried.
“A lot of tourists coming in seem to think that Goa is a COVID-free paradise which doesn’t require a person wearing a mask or maintaining social distancing.”Jonquil Sudhir, Local
It is also important to note that a COVID test is no longer required for people entering the state. This raises the question as to how the government is going to tackle the daily increasing cases, given that we do not have the said resources or medical infrastructure to handle them?
“The problem with that is we are only just seeing a reduction in cases in Goa right now, and a super spreader or a surge is something that we really cannot afford because our infrastructure is already very weak.”Jonquil Sudhir
With the administration failing miserably, it seems like the government is just waiting for its people to develop immunity against the virus.
Stricter Rules and SOPs Needed
During the nationwide lockdown, scarcity of essentials led to locals demanding opening of grocery stores. The government had then said that they won’t be blamed if the virus spreads. So how does the government now hope to tackle the issues arising with the growth of tourism in the state?
Casinos have also opened in Goa with the government’s approval, so there has been a rise in the number of people here in the month of November.
Entrepreneurs from the hospitality sector say that the economy of the state has been bouncing back since the last three months after lockdown relaxations. However, health implications need to be made priority as well.
“Maintaining the sort of requirement for the people to be safe might be difficult with the pandemic. The government could have thought of putting better SOPs in place, and thought of innovative methods to promote tourism in Goa.”Clyde
The President of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, Nilesh Shah, said that it was very challenging when the state opened its borders.
“COVID-19 is to stay for some time. So following strict protocols is important and with tourism season coming in full light. Tourists should follow all the protocols.”Nilesh Shah
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