Hospitality industry in Goa plays a big role in putting the State on the world map. The State has several hotels but the Taj always stands out. VIKANT SAHAY met with the area director of Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) and general manager of Taj Exotica, Vincent Ramos to learn how the hospitality industry in Goa is fairing
HERALD: You received the Best Hotel of the World Award in 2016 for Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. How did it all happen?
VINCENT RAMOS: Hard work never goes unrecognised. Hospitality is in-born in all Indians and it is seen not only in Goa but all over the world and this attitude helped me a lot to attain successes. We try to give our best for our guest and we are excited to do that which automatically reflects in our work too. Secondly, we are well versed in English language which has now become a universal language for communication. It was even better that we became the World Number one based on the surveys done and the remarks made by our guests who stayed in our hotel. There are primarily two things which we looked into. The hardware, which is the palace and it was done up for the guests and secondly the software, which are the services. We looked after the services to make our customer happy and satisfied. We added the story telling. Variety of food and flavours also helped us.
HERALD: Goa as a tourist State, how are we doing in the hospitality sector?
VR: We have been getting mixed views on this issue. I think Goa is doing extremely well and what is important for Goa is to have the right segment, the niche segment and we are doing very well in this arena. Goa has the up-market tourism brand and it is not only the beautiful beaches but apart from that we have lovely hinterland, architecture, flora and fauna, backwaters etc. We have six hotels (all Taj hotels and Ginger too) in Goa and we have done extremely well.
HERALD: What are new things from your side which we will see in Goa in near future?
VR: We are trying to make our portfolio bigger because we are the pioneers which actually found Goa with setting up of Taj Fort Aguada when CHOGM took place. This hotel brought us on the world map. We started the hospitality industry as early as 1904 when Taj Mumbai came up. We are proud of it and we are going to contribute more to Goa. We want to ensure that Goa must get its dues which it deserves. We have big expansion plans and we want to stay on top as market leaders.
HERALD: What are the new projects which you are working on?
VR: We have a very dynamic managing director who has joined us about a year back. He is known for turning around the results. We have done so much work in the past one year. We have transformed the Ginger at Patto and it is a 360 degree turn. The designers were brought in from Germany to transform it. We have spent a lot of money on Taj Exotica which has won lot of awards. We are doing a lot of work at Taj Village and it has got the highest equity. We have very big plans for Taj Village and Taj Aguada. Taj Vivanta at Panjim has also won awards.
HERALD: You have a penchant for education and coming from Chorao Island you ensured that you got good education. What is your message for Goans on this issue?
VR: I had the choice to become a waiter in a hotel or to go for education and take up managerial roles. In our days soon after school people used to hop on the ships to begin their career and it had a social status in the market. But gradually things have changed and people are going for higher studies. We have to make good use of the education system.