September is getting closer, will people fly?
Groundhog Day continues here in Goa as things remain pretty much the same, the rain continues to lash the state, however they do say it will die down a little from Monday. I like rain, I really do, its a break from that blazing sun but its been getting on my nerves now, its heavy its persistent and everything just looks yuk. Yep no apologies for the simple language, its true, everything looks simply yuk, dark, dingy slimy and messy! We get it all cleaned up before most tourist come so not to worry, no point in doing it yet while its still absolutely lashing down. Thunder rumbles and lightning flashes, this is more of a storm massing. In fact they have put it down to a low pressure system over the Bay of Bengal. So lets see what happens.
Some areas are flooded but not as many as you would expect after such heavy downpours.
Indepence Day was there this week, I didn't hear much about it so I think it was low key, just the never ending barrage of Happy Indepence Day message on my whatsapp. Ive never been a big believer that it was something to celebrate however many people lost their lives when Freedom Fighters fought for Independence and that has to be respected.
Farmers like the rain but too much is also a problem as it washes away the crops, lets hope this monsoon is not a total washout for many locals who are relying on a bumper crop this year to feed the family.
So what is in the news?
Sorry Covid-19 again please see the latest figures, they are still rising.
Right now there are no signs that this is going to slow down just yet. Schools are still closed but gyms are now opening so there is a small glimmer of light.
For those of you that know Tashi from Why Not Tashi's he has now opened a fantastic MMA gym above his restaurant to give him and him family some hope of getting through what will be a hard or non existent season. Good luck with that Tashi. Your forethought in anticipating that Tourism isn't going to feed us all will be the making of your new venture hopefully.
I am just hoping that more people in the state are not sitting back and hoping that the season will open up and all will be fine, it will be a miracle if it does and we all require a viable plan B. Hotels will be fine, they will get their permissions and operate within the Government Guidelines which will mean numbers will be down but they will hopefully will have a season. However I just still dont feel that independent homestays/apartments and rooms will stand any chance of being allowed to open not just yet anyway.
Its all about the flights and the visa's this week.
There are some flights coming into India but strictly only for OCI passengers that meet certain criteria or other people that meet strict Govt criteria, When you arrive there are strict protocols in place.
Who can actually travel is listed here (but it doesn't really say much)
This is the latest on the air bubbles, you seem to be able to fly between the UK and India still but certain European countries are not allowed still.
The ban on commercial passenger flights continues with next assessment/announcement being made on August 31st. This article explains this and also mentions countries like Brazil that are simply waiting no longer to open to travel. So we can at least assume from this article that India are still willing to be cautious.
So we all wait and watch for decisions on travel post 31st August.....will people 'stranded' here in Goa finally get home, do they want to go? Most foreign visitors on tourist visas that technically have had to overstay due to their visa expiring or their 180 stay window being overrun are watching this date closely. Anyone that has been here in Goa in breach of their visa due to the pandemic have had to register online with the EFRRO, they have not been given a hard time and the visa's have been extended for as long as the flights remain closed. However on the day that they do open they have been told that they will have 30 days to leave from that date. Im not sure how this will pan out, some people have return flights booked already and they just get deferred dates, they will fly out as and when their chosen airline tells them to I suppose. However I still feel there will be a mad rush for flights as there are many people that reside here in Goa that have 180 day restrictions on their visa's that have not got any return flight, they just haven't managed to book their 180 day exit due to restrictions. When flights resume they will also be in the same boat and have to book a flight out within 30 days, I do hope there will be enough seats for all!!
Talking about bums on seats and airlines operating there are going to be some new players in the market and some old ones returning that used to give us some really great prices.
Virgin are resuming their flights to India from September
Yes they are an old player in the market but they are desperate for custom this could go one of two ways, they could be expensive as they need to get money in, or they could be really cheap as they really need bums on seats to get over their financial instability. Im no economist and will never claim to be but its worth watching. For those of you that frequented Goa many years ago, you will remember scheduled flights operated by Virgin to London Heathrow for about 200 quid return!!! They were the days. I dont say for one minute that those prices will return but a steady price of around 500 pounds would suit, in recent years a quick UK trip has been very costly and something we have to now do less often.
Im personally wishing for a price war.. Budget airlines like Spicejet and Vistara are becoming more prominent in the market
Go one lets have a price war, we dont mind lets watch and wait.
I read a FB post this morning that seemed to suggest that Visa's were open and that as soon as flights started then anyones 1-5 year visa would be allowed! Hmm the article quoted was just a snippet from the Indian Visa website which said that visa applications were now open to be taken but were on hold until the flights were opened and the decision on who could enter is made. Therefore be wary and read things carefully before you start planning the trip to Goa, its not on until we get the clear cut go ahead that flights have resumed AND there are no longer any visa restrictions. To date there is no actual decided date on that.
Even after that happens we still need to get clarifications about whether people will be allowed to stay at their chosen place but that's another story and something to be looked at once flights are given the go ahead and foreign tourists are told that they are now welcome in the state.
So that's it for this week, please give the articles a read and make what you will of them. In the meantime we will watch and wait here and see how Goa copes with the up and coming Ganesh festivities, will social distancing prevail??? I fear not.
Take care and have a good week ahead.