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TTAG backs govt in fight against COVID-19

Panaji: Despite suffering huge losses, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) on Thursday extended its support to the state government in its fight against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The apex body representing the hotel and travel trade in the state said that it will even support the government if it decides on a lockdown by shutting down the inter-state borders and airport temporarily to prevent spread of the virus in Goa.

“We will support the government in this decision after giving guests in the state adequate time to leave the state,” reads the press note issued by TTAG.

The TTAG said that the spread of the dreaded virus will cost the state tourism industry approximately Rs 1,000 crore, while there will be severe job losses numbering around 60,000-75,000 unless remedial measures are taken.

In order to prevent all the tourism businesses from going bankrupt, TTAG has asked for a six to nine months’ moratorium on all principal amount and interest payments on loans and overdrafts. It has said that sanctioned loans should be disbursed and there should be free flow of sanctioned credit to enable the firms to meet liquidity crisis.

The tourism body said that the state and central governments should grant tax holidays to all the businesses for the period of lockdown and thereafter for a period of six months to enable the industry to recover as done by various foreign governments.

“The fees and taxes for renewal of all licences by the excise department and licences from other departments should be reduced and postponed for a period of six months after the re-opening of these establishments,” TTAG said.

The TTAG has advised Goans and politicians, in particular to stop having social interactions and stop travelling abroad temporarily, as it could put their own health and that of other people in Goa at risk.

The body opined that the March 22 Zilla Panchayat elections should be ‘cancelled’.

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