27 Aug 2016 | 05:08am IST
The party is on 365 days in Goa
Perceived to be slow and low, the monsoon period in Goa’s tourism parlance is called the ‘off season’. AJIT JOHN gets on to the party scene in the State’s coastal belt to find that night life in Goa is anything but off
The deep throb of trance music can be heard from a distance. The location is somewhere in the north of Goa. The crowd comprises a large percentage of domestic tourists and a smattering of foreigners. The crowd could be easily estimated to be well above a thousand. The entrance fee was Rs 1000 which meant just that and nothing else. And this was the monsoons which envelops the State every year from June through September.
The perception of a monsoon lull is a misconception whose sell by date is long past. In 2015 during the monsoon, according to numbers collated by the GTDC around 7,16,045 domestic tourist and 50,733 international tourists visited the State.
Nandan Kudchadkar the man behind LPK Waterfront said “Nightlife in Goa is booming. There is no lull in the night life in the State. A flight from say Mumbai will have young men and couples flying down. The men go off to the casinos and the couples visit the night clubs. Some of the night clubs do not encourage stags.”
Goa, he said was the clubbing capital of the country and competition amongst the various clubs was quite intense. It was accepted practise to provide unlimited alcohol on payment of entry fee which was Rs 1500 at his night club. Every club he said was willing to push the envelope to attract business.
Lyndon Alves of Sunset Getaways corroborated the sentiment by saying that business in the monsoon was booming. Lyndon said “The domestic tourist comes to Goa during the monsoon in droves. They don’t come here for the beach, they don’t want the tan. It’s the buzz, the nightlife that they come here for. Hotel occupancy is increasing every year during the monsoon boosted by the off season rates. Popular night spots like Cohiba, Cavalla, Tito’s and Sync are booming.”
The rise in MICE events in Goa had also helped business. This, Lyndon said had also added to a large number of elite domestic tourists coming to the State. They were, he said, spending much more than any European tourist could hope to spend.
For an industry that is the face of the State and defines its place in the world, no one was however willing to come on record with regards the monies being generated. A prominent player in the business however speaking off record said the rave shows in Anjuna itself generated business worth Rs 2500 crore conservatively. The rave business he said was bigger than Sunburn which itself generated in the hundreds of crores in business. The numbers, he said were staggering which explained the interest of people in positions of power.
Responding to a set of questions sent to Goa Tourism, Director, Sanjeev C Gauns Dessai said the administration was aware of the growing importance of nightlife in the mix. He said “Goa Tourism is aware of the fact that nightlife in Goa is gaining popularity especially during the peak season. A lot of proposals are being received from private entrepreneurs wanting to start activities to boost night life in Goa. However, all these proposals are being carefully examined and debated upon by a special committee after evaluating the pros and cons, taking stock of ground realities and sentiments of the local Goans. Approvals are accordingly given after taking the opinion of various multi-agencies like the police, traffic police, fire services, local bodies, district administration etc. There is also a proposal to identify special sites where music festivals and other events can be organized away from residential areas and which will not disturb the concerned areas in any way. There are already legislations in place with regards to noise pollution and the concerned agencies are implementing the same”.
Like many things in the country there is a national association of night club owners. Riyaaz Amlani, president, NRAI said with regards to Goa, people were looking for affordable and casual places to party. Apart from beverage sales, food sales had increased and guests were now looking forward to new culinary concepts at bars. Fusion cuisine and a modern take on traditional food was gaining attention. This trend he said was being mirrored nationally. Asked how business was this year during the monsoon, he said “Despite the heavy rains, places like Tito’s have been getting their regular clientele. The lower pricing of accommodation had helped the business tremendously”.
Perhaps the final word should go to the night club operator who wished to stay off the record who said “We all know that business is good in fact great but no one will be able to tell you how much business was generated since most of the transactions are cash and carry. How does one keep a track and no one is really interested in putting in any systems because everyone is happy with the present situation. If one is an honest operator, it is not a great position to be in.”