The Goa travel and tourism industry on Thursday welcomed the state government decision to open the tourism sector, even as hoteliers continued to await government guidelines and SOPs.

“Many people and trades are indirectly related to the hotel industry. The government can help with free rations to some extent, but people can’t survive only on rice,” said the Travel and Tourism Association president Nilesh Shah.

On Wednesday, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had said the tourism activity, especially hotels, would be allowed to reopen.

On Thursday, however, the Goa government failed to upload the SOPs and guidelines. “Hotels didn’t open because advisories have still not been uploaded. It’s awaiting the Chief Minister’s nod. Everyone is eager to start operations,” Goa Hotel Owners Association president Gaurish Dhond said.

“We are ready. We are expecting a good season in October and November. We want to come back with a bang,” Dhond said.

SOPs for hotels would be issued soon, said Goa Tourism Director Menino D’Souza. “Hotel owners will have to submit an undertaking that they will follow the stipulated guidelines. Nearly 260 hotels have registered with the state Tourism Ministry for beginning of operations,” D’Souza said.

Tourists will have to either carry Covid-19 negative certificates with a 48-hour validity or get themselves tested in Goa. “Hotels will have to create an isolation facility, where tourists who don’t have Covid-19 negative certificate will be hosted until they are tested and their tests reports declared,” D’Souza said.