In one of her recent statement, the health secretary of Goa Ms Nila Mohanan had said that “Tourists should not come if they do not have a house in Goa” but the real question remained unanswered here and that is how and why any tourists will come to Goa when they don’t have accommodation here, and when all the hotels are closed. No one goes for vacation without the prior bookings accepted by the hotels!
One of the local dailies in Goa O Heraldo had exposed the online bookings accepted by the hotels in state. “Two days after the Herald expose of hotels and guest houses accepting online bookings, Department of Tourism swung into action and issued an order directing hotels and guest houses not to accept bookings through online websites,” stated the report.
This made it clear that the hotels were accepting the bookings for the rooms despite of the prevailing lockdown restrictions. According to the order issued by Tourism Director Menino D’Souza, as per the directions of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), vide Order no. 40 3/2020-DM-I(A) there is a need of strict implementation of the lockdown norms in the state and no hotels can take booking whatsoever before 31st May 2020.
“As per Para 2(iv) of the guidelines all hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services shall remain prohibited throughout the country except those meant for housing health/police government officials/healthcare workers/ stranded persons including tourists and for quarantine facilities,” it states.
According to the department of tourism, it has been observed that hotels have been accepting bookings through various website mobile applications like Make My Trip, OYO, Airbnb etc during the period when the above-said order is in force.
The acts of the hotels have been strictly condemned by the department saying that it is wrong on the part of hotels and accommodation facilities to accept the booking for the rooms when Goa is under complete lockdown and no hotels and restaurants are allowed to run the business and it amounts to violation of the lockdown measures issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
“Hence, all hotels, accommodation facilities are hereby directed to forthwith stop accepting any bookings on any website/mobile application till the above said activities are prohibited, failing which they will be liable for penal action as per provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable,” the order states.