Even as Goa allowed entry of tourists into the state from today, hotel owners, who have applied for permission from the tourism department to resume operations, are still waiting for guidelines that they need to follow amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Goa Hotel & Restaurant Association President, Gaurish Dhond said that hotels in Goa are ready to open their gates for travellers but they are yet to receive the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
"It is a good move that the government has decided to open hotels. In fact, they should have opened a long back. I have been told by Goa Tourism Director's office that SOPs are yet to be loaded. Once the advisory comes, every hotel will have to file an undertaking, take the necessary precautions according to the SOPs, for instance, every time a guest checks out, the room has to be fumigated," Mr Dhond told ANI.
"260 hotels have applied for permissions with the Director's office. We know tourists are not going to come immediately. We expect corporate clienteles to come. There are so many auditors who have tie-ups with companies in Goa. We are ready to start operations," Mr Dhond added.
Tourism Director Menino D'Souza said that hotels will be permitted to take bookings after the department looks into their undertakings.
"The central government allowed hotels to open from June 8. SOP was also issued for the opening of hotels. From today, the government has permitted to open hotels in Goa provided they stick to all guidelines and SOPs. Till date, 260 hotels have registered with us. We will look at their undertakings and accordingly permit them to start activities," Mr D'Souza said, adding, "Hotels can only take bookings after our permission."
Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said bookings will only be allowed in hotels registered with the tourism department.
"Bookings will only be allowed in hotels registered with the tourism department. Tourists who used to illegally stay in non registered hotels (booked through app aggregator services) or in unregistered guest houses will not be allowed. It will be deemed illegal," Mr Ajgaonkar told ANI.
The minister also said that for a tourist to enter the state, he or she will have to carry a COVID-19 negative certificate within the stipulated 48-hours window or get mandatorily tested in Goa.
"We will have a checking mechanism for the examination of these certificates at entry points. If the tourists do not carry the certificate, they will be sent to the respective hotel which they have booked themselves into where they will be tested," Mr Ajgaonkar said.