The Central government is taking steps to reopen India to foreign tourists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, adding that Goa, with its 100 per cent coverage of the first Covid-19 vaccine dose, could play a big part in the revival of the country's tourism industry. "The Central government is taking steps to welcome foreign tourists back. The government has taken a decision to give five lakh tourists free visas. Travel and tourism stakeholders will be given loans up to Rs 10 lakh with a 100 per cent guarantee by the government,” said PM Modi. "Tourist guides are being given the facility of taking a loan of up to Rs 1 lakh... In the future too, the Central government will be ready to help those who take the tourism sector forward," Modi said during a virtual interaction with health workers, ruling politicians, administrative officials and a cross-section of people from Goa.
Also Read | PM Modi interacts with health workers, vaccine beneficiaries in Goa "India's vaccination drive is not a cover for health, but a cover for livelihood too. It is important that tourism destinations open as soon as possible. The 'Char Dham' yatra will begin soon in Uttarakhand”. Stating the importance of full vaccination of people in the state, "Goa's 100 per cent vaccination will become important to revive the tourism sector. If hotel industry workers, taxi drivers, hawkers, shopkeepers are vaccinated, it will give peace of mind to the visiting tourists”. "Goa is a part of a select group of tourist destinations where people are vaccinated," the Prime Minister added. While encouraging the revival of tourism, Modi. However. said that the pandemic should not be taken lightly. "Domestic and international tourists can take pleasure in coming here... Numbers have come down, but we still cannot take this virus lightly. You will get as many tourists and travellers depending on how much importance you give to safety and hygiene," he said.
The event also witnessed the presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Deputy Chief Minister Chandrakant Kavlekar and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, among others.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant assured PM Modi that the state will complete 2nd dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by October 31.
On September 10, Sawant had announced that the state had administered the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 to 100 per cent of its eligible population and congratulated the state’s doctors and health workers.
Also Read | Goa vaccinates 17,327 people on PM’s birthday