A tourism organization in Goa has called on Prime Minister Pramod Sawant to allow charter flights in the state from “safe destinations” under a “bubble” treaty to stimulate tourism.

The Goa Travel and Tourism Association (TTAG) said in a memorandum to the CM on Tuesday that various trade organizations had proposed creating travel bubbles with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Great Britain and Poland and Finland for these commercial flights.

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This takes place before the budget meeting of the State Assembly, which is to take place between March 24th and April 16th.

The Directorate-General for Civil Aviation last week extended the suspension of the international commercial passenger service until March 31st.

Planned international flight operations were suspended from March 23rd last year after the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

As part of the suspension, special international flights have been permitted since May of last year as part of the Vande Bharat Mission and since July under bilateral “bubble” agreements with selected countries.

As part of a bubble pact between two countries, their airlines can operate special international flights between their territories.

“We have proposed that charter flights from safe destinations are allowed to land in Goa and that bubbles form,” TTAG President Nilesh Shah said in the memorandum.

The state government should also waive landing and airport fees for a year from March 1, 2021, for foreign airlines and operators of charter flights, he said.

This will help revitalize the state’s tourism industry, TTAG said in its memorandum.

It has also been alleged that there are 5,000 to 7,000 unregistered service apartments, guest houses and homestays that do not pay taxes in Goa, while a number of hotels, cabins and cruises operate without a license.

“They have to be brought under the tax network in order to increase the state’s income, so that law-abiding and legitimate companies are not overloaded and a level playing field exists,” says the memorandum.

With contributions from agencies.

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