Considering the vulnerability of those who work in the hospitality sector, hoteliers in the State have urged the government step forward to vaccinate all workers on a priority basis.
Serafin Cota, president of Small and Medium Hotel Owners’ Association and owner of Dona Sa Maria resort, Cavellossim says, “it would be a welcome step, if the hospitality sector gets a jab on a priority basis. It will prove to be a shot in the arm for this sector, which is suffering losses for over a year now”.
Pointing out that most small and medium hotels in the South Goa are closed for almost a year now, Cota highlighted the importance of vaccinating the employees in the hospitality industry, to safeguard their own lives and the lives of their families
Nilesh Shah, president, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), feels the government must look at safeguarding the health of those who work in this industry.
“A month ago, TTAG has already requested the government to consider hospitality sector for vaccination on a priority basis. Vaccinations would help to develop herd immunity faster and create confidence among the tourism and hospitality sector, to deal with the pandemic”, he said.
Ramnath (Babu) Quenim of Hotel Mandovi is of the opinion that the hospitality sector should be classified as frontline warriors too, as this is the industry that serves people 24x7 and is at high risk due to its close contact with customers.
“The government of Goa should support us, as we have always supported the State in any and all situations or crises. It is the need of the hour that the hotel staff, irrespective of their designations, should be considered for a jab now,” Quenim said.
Gaurish Dhond, MD, Hotel Manoshanti in Panaji feels, “there is no other option than vaccinating the hospitality sector”.
Pointing out that the tourists visit and stay in hotels and people also come and stay for work purposes, Dhond states, “the hotel staff comes in contact with these people, so they should get the doses of the vaccine on priority.
Also, the conductors and drivers of the State owned Kadamba Transport Corporation need to be vaccinated as they too come in contact with a lot of public on a daily basis.
Cruz Cardoso, Shack Owners Welfare Society, opines that the government should consider the safety of the hotel and shack workers, as they come into contact with the customers on a day-to-day basis.
Admitting that there is not so much business running currently, Cardoso feels, those who are running the business, however small it may be, must be protected. The cases are increasing in the State and hence those working on shacks, hotels or casinos should be vaccinated on a priority basis, he says.
Endorsing that the tourism industry is an important sector in the economy, Sanjeev Sardesai, former secretary of Goa Travel & Tourism Club feels that vaccinating those in the hospitality sector on a priority basis may appear to be a Utopian idea, and says that the fear of the vaccine should be wiped out of the minds of people first.
“The idea is good, but the government should make an effort to educate on the vaccine, and tell about the after effects and its efficacy, so that people come forward to take it. Unless the fear of the vaccine clears from the minds, people will be reluctant to come forward,” feels a cautious Sardesai.