Goa had been closed down for tourists, but recently there has been some tourist activity in the state. Most places have reopened with a steady influx of tourists. A top executive said on Saturday that the first chartered flight of the season will land in Goa on December 13 from the UK. It will break a hiatus in the foreign tourism sector in the state following the COVID-19 epidemic.
Before The Covid Pandemic
Following the virus epidemic last year, chartered flight services were halted. The 2019-20 season was canceled because of the epidemic too. The tourist business anticipated a positive reaction from the Russian market, but arrivals may be delayed because of the Covid-19 outbreak in their nation. Before the epidemic, Goa used to receive roughly 1,000 chartered aircraft throughout the tourist season, which runs from October to April, according to the officials. The tourism business will recover if at least 50% of chartered flights land in the coastal state this tourist season and if the present prohibition on planned flights from overseas does not impact the industry.
Every year, Goa receives around 9 lakh foreign tourists, comprising 2-2.5 lakh charter visitors. More than half of Goa’s charter guests come from CIS countries, while the rest come from the United Kingdom and a few countries in Europe. Due to the epidemic, Goa did not get a single charter last season for the first time in years. Following a one-year break, operators are anticipating a good season.
Present Scenario Of Russian Flights
A top source said on Saturday that the first chartered flight of the season will arrive in Goa from the UK on December 13, breaking a slump in the foreign tourist sector since the Covid-19 epidemic. Beginning in December, four chartered aircraft will travel to Goa from the United Kingdom, two from Gatwick and two from Manchester Airports, according to Nilesh Shah, head of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG). The activities of chartered flights were halted last year due to the virus epidemic. The 2019-20 season was also canceled as a result of the pandemic, according to Shah.
TUI Airways’s first flight this year from the UK will land in Goa on December 13, as travel businesses await authorization from Russian sites. On October 15, India began granting visas, and reservations from other countries have started to arrive. Travel agents believe that the deepening of the virus in Russia has slowed bookings. Another factor for the sluggish pace of bookings is a lack of clarity regarding SOPs applicable to travellers. “We are absolutely ready for them to inform us what schedule they want us to adhere to here as two flights have already been confirmed from there,” Abida Kumar, Vice President of Operations, Minar Travels stated in India. Kumar speculated that the high number of Covid-19 instances might be the reason they haven’t heard from their Russian colleagues yet. “We don’t know exactly what’s going on,” she stated.
Anupam Kumar, director of Caper India, stated that while bookings from Russia and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), their primary market, have been delayed, he is sure that flights would begin on 15 November. “We know for certain that two aircraft will come weekly, beginning November, but no schedules have been assigned. We anticipate more flights, at least five to six each week, beginning in December,” he stated. He also said that the reaction in terms of bookings has been positive thus far, but further clarification is needed in SOPs, which is still unclear. “As soon as that happens, we’ll have a greater knowledge of how visitors could react,” he added.
Ernest Dias, chief operating officer of Sita Travels, stated that while tourist activity has begun, reservations will begin only once the flight schedule is released and all SOPs are finalized. The Indian government has declared that overseas visitors to India would be required to provide an RT-PCR-negative certificate and the Goan government has set the cost of the test at Rs 3,200 for foreign visitors.
Present Scenario Of Kazakhstan Flights
Even though tour operators in Goa have yet to get confirmation on charter arrivals from Russian destinations, one charter aircraft per week from Kazakhstan will begin arriving in the state next month. All operations will be managed by MinarTravels (India). “We have received confirmation for a weekly charter flight from Almaty, Kazakhstan, with the first arrival scheduled for 9 December. We’re also trying to get charters from Ukraine,” Kumar explained in an interview.
Aside from Russia, Goa has received charters from the two CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries regularly over the last decade. With Russia still struggling from the pandemic’s impact, Goa will have to endure a little longer with charters from Russian locations commencing in January perhaps, according to organizers. More than half of the charter visitors that visit Goa are Russians, with the UK also being a significant market. The first charter flight from the United Kingdom will arrive in Goa on December 13. Operators are witnessing a surge in reservations from the United Kingdom since India began granting visas mid-last month, even though the foreign travel restriction will stay in effect until the end of next month.
It is indeed after a huge period that international flights will be allowed in India. Covid-19 had put a stop to any international visits. It’s hoped that we might see an end to this pandemic soon. Goa has taken lots of steps to increase its tourism and this is just one of them. They have opened almost everything and tourists are coming in rapidly for a breath of fresh air after being cooped up so long. With the incoming chartered flights from the UK, there will be a significant rise in tourism. Goa might see flights from different countries quite soon.