Lively Goa as more people fly to celebrate Christmas, New Year
Goa is experiencing increased traffic on its roads and beaches as tourists from other nations pour into the coastal state in significant numbers to ring in the holidays. According to sources in the hospitality sector, hotels in the state are practically all booked up. The decision of the administration to not impose any COVID-19-related limitations has improved the atmosphere.
The state would not enforce any pandemic-related restrictions until January 2, 2023, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday, but he urged citizens to take measures on their own.
“We are looking at an overall positive season this year. Tourists have arrived in the state for Christmas and New Year celebrations,” Nilesh Shah, President, Travel and Tours Association of Goa (TTAG), told PTI.
According to him, hotels are more than 90% booked for Christmas and are virtually completely full for New Year’s. The tourism sector benefited from Sawant’s statement that COVID-19 limitations would be lifted until January 2, he noted. In the meanwhile, the police force is alert. CM Sawant, who also oversees the housing portfolio, recently convened a meeting of senior authorities.
On the roads, more traffic police officers have been stationed. Abhishek Dhania, superintendent of police, led a police procession through the major settlements in the South Goa region, which included Margao. Superintendent of Police Nidhin Valsan organised a similar march in the North Goa district. On Saturday, midnight masses will be held in the state, where about 30% of the population is Christian. Christmas is a time of hope, love, and communion, Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrao declared in a statement distributed on the night of Christmas. Christians believe that at the first Christmas, God entered the world and that he is still among us now as the Emmanuel.
“He kept aside his power and, in the person of Jesus Christ, took upon himself our fragile nature. He became one with humanity, one with the least of all, and in doing so, he created a union, a communion between him and humankind. He showed us how to love, respect and care for each other so that our life becomes a living and constant service to God and to our fellow human beings,” Ferrao said.
“As I wish everyone a Happy and Blessed Christmas, I pray that we may all strive to reach out to everyone, particularly to the least and the last, listen to the voices and the needs of the people around us and spend our lives in the service of others, building thereby a new society and a strong communion of communities,” the Cardinal added.