Three hundred and seventy foreign tourists from the U.K. and Russia, who came to Goa for holidaying but were left stranded owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, were flown out in two special relief flights on Wednesday.
The relief flights approved by the Indian government saw 249 tourists fly to Manchester, while another 121 left for Moscow. Goa Airport Director Gagan Malik said despite all odds and skeletal staff on duty, the relief flights to Manchester and Moscow were handled well. “A few more of these special ferry flights are planned in the coming days,” Mr. Malik said.
This is the fifth ferry charter departure from Goa in the past three days. On March 22, about 1,000 foreign tourists flew out of Goa in three special ferry charter flights. The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) said it had launched a helpline for foreign tourists who are stranded in the coastal State and want to return.
TTAG president Savio Messais said there were several foreigners, mostly from European countries like Germany, stranded in various parts of Goa. “Most of them have taken shelter at the coastal belt of North Goa district in Pernem taluka,” he said.
Mr. Messais said through TTAG they are trying to identify stranded tourists in Goa and have launched a helpline (9921003568) to help them register their names. “The TTAG is hopeful of getting required permissions from the government after the situation normalises. Embassies of their respective nations are also trying their best to take stranded tourists home,” he said.