Wednesday, January 12 2022

Amid an Omicron scare ahead of the Christmas-New Year season, Goa’s tourism industry has adopted a “wait and watch” policy.

A man walks past a mural depicting a health worker to raise awareness of Covid-19 (Photo credit: PTI Photo)

Ahead of the world-famous Christmas and New Year celebrations in Goa, the state’s tourism sector is closely monitoring the likely impact of a new variant of the coronavirus which has recently been detected in southern Africa and which the Organization world of health has baptized “Omicron”. and labeled a “variant of concern,” stakeholders said on Sunday.

They said charter flights and international services bringing in foreign tourists would start arriving in mid-December, heralding what the sector expects to be another successful season after a robust season during Diwali, with the coastal state being became the preferred destination for national travelers after the Covid. -19 pandemic ebbs.

“We wait and watch. So far, at least there is no impact [of Omicron] but we will have to wait and monitor all developments over the next 15 days. If cases increase, protocols will have to be followed even more strictly, ”Goa Travel and Tourism Association chairman Nilesh Shah told PTI.

He said lack of precaution has been the main reason cases have increased in the past, although the country is better equipped to deal with an outbreak now, as around 70% of the eligible population has taken at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Read | Explanation: How worried should we be about the Omicron variant?

Explaining the situation with charter flights expected to arrive in the state, Shah said: “The visa issuance process has started. The severe wave of Covid-19 in Russia is cooling, cases in the UK are declining. The government of the Union authorized international flights from December 15, and many tourists come here on regular flights. “

Showing courage when asked if he fears losing the Christmas and New Years season due to a resurgent viral variant, Shah said Goa is a safe destination as 100% of the eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“Moreover, we are not afraid as such. We have to learn to do business with the presence of Covid-19 around,” Shah said.

Read | Omicron variant threat: government to reconsider decision to resume international commercial flights

Read | Whether the Omicron variant can escape vaccine immunity remains to be seen: member of the Maha Covid working group

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