Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) has made a request to the government to reopen the offshore casinos in the Mandovi river, as well as restarting popular river cruises. Under Union 5.0 guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs at the start of the month, most activities can start reopening in Goa, with certain limits. Casinos, however, were to remain closed. TTAG President, Nilesh Shah has written to the government to reopen entertainment parks and similar places, under which casinos and river cruises fall, to open from 15th October.
“We have to send a positive message so that tourists start planning their holidays to Goa. We can’t wait till the vaccine is introduced.” Shah said to the Times Of India. River cruises and casinos are a huge tourist attraction for people across India. One spokesperson said,
“They may gamble or not, but tourists certainly will like to see that different world which they have only read or seen in movies.”
The TTAG also promised to publish detailed safety guidelines and procedures to be COVID-safe. These will include track-and-trace systems, best practice hygiene measures, medical screenings, and continual cleaning and disinfection of all public touch points. It remains to be seen whether this request will be accepted. Recently, the offshore casinos were given another 6 month extension to stay put in the Mandovi. However, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has reiterated several times that the casinos will not be reopening any time soon.