TTAG urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from safe destinations

 Thursday, March 4, 2021 


Before the Goa Assembly’s budget session, a top tourism body in the state has urged the Pramod Sawant government to allow chartered flights from “safe destinations” to improve tourism.

In a memorandum to the state Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) said that various trade bodies have suggested forming travel bubbles with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, along with the UK, Poland and Finland for these commercial flights.

The budget session of the Goa Assembly will be held between March 24 and April 16. CM Sawant will be presenting the budget on March 24.

Last week, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation extended the postponement of international commercial passenger flight services till March 31. Scheduled international flight operations were suspended from March 23 last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

In the midst of the suspension, special international flights have been allowed under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year and under bilateral “air bubble” arrangements with handful of countries since July.

“We have proposed that chartered flights be allowed to land in Goa from safe destinations and bubbles be formed,” said TTAG president Nilesh Shah.

Goa government should also provide landing and airport fees waiver to foreign airlines and operators of chartered flights for one year from March 1, 2021, said Shah. This will help to revitalize Goa’s tourism industry.

The memorandum claimed that there are 5,000 to 7,000 unregistered service apartments, guest houses and home stays in Goa that do not pay any taxes, with a number of hotels, shacks and cruises operating without license.

“They need to be brought under the tax net to increase the state”s revenue so that law abiding and legitimate businesses are not overburdened and there is a level-playing field,” said the memorandum.

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