Following the news that Goa (India) has lifted the restrictions on the movement of people in and out of the state and has allowed the reopening of bars;
Animesh Kumar, Director of Travel and Tourism Consulting at GlobalData, a leading research and consulting company, offers his view:
“While some may cite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country at an alarming rate to argue that the restrictions lifting decision in Goa is premature, one must look at the state of the economy and the economy of the state. Tourism, along with mining and pharmaceuticals, is a major contributor to the economy of Goa and the performance has taken a severe hit due to the pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions. Tourism dependent economies across the globe are coming up with innovative and desperate measures to revive the tourism industry and so is the case with Goa.
“A similar example of another destination trying to desperately revive tourism is Thailand, a country that is heavily dependent on tourism. Thailand has recently announced a pilot study in Phuket from October 2020, which would require international tourists to stay for a minimum of 30 days, out of which the first 14 days would be under ‘relaxed’ quarantine. During quarantine, tourists would be required to clear two COVID-19 tests and would be able to step out within a radius of 1 kilometer. After 14 days, they can explore the entire Phuket island.
“After another week, tourists would have to successfully clear another test to travel anywhere in Thailand. This plan makes a lot of sense from a safety point of view but may not result in a significant inflow of tourists. However, the primary objective is not to generate significant traffic but to test the waters before the peak season that starts in November.
“The opening of borders and bars in Goa should be seen as a similar pilot. Instead of the government mandating who does what, the onus is now on the tourism industry stakeholders – business owners as well as tourists – to ensure that they tread with caution and help in the revival of tourism before the peak season of November to February.”