‘Goa not as badly hit as the rest of India’

Varun Albuquerque, Director, Alcon Victor Group, says the reason is the state being a fun and leisure destination

A trusted name in construction, real estate, hotels, healthcare and tourism in Goa, the Alcon Group was founded in 1970 by two young engineers –Victor M Albuquerque and Anil Counto. The duo, with Rs 5,000, started building compound walls and small bungalows and soon garnered a name for themselves as topnotch contractors. In 1975-76, the two decided to venture into real estate business across Goa and started with the development of various plots, colonies and real estate projects. A natural corollary to real estate was hotels and in 1982, Albuquerque set up his first hotel, the then Delmon Hotel in Panaji. 

A year later, Albuquerque started the concept of ‘rent back’ in a complex called Aguada Homes on the Candolim Beach.  Subsequently, in 1985, he set up Ronil Beach Resort, an award-winning legendary hotel. After the separation in the partnership, both the engineers decided to go their own ways and the Alcon Victor Group was born in 1998-99. 

“The Group entered the field of setting up resorts and hotels, both in South and North Goa – Radisson Blu Resort and Dona Sylvia Beach Resort in Cavelossim and Radisson Goa Candolim. With the setting up of these resorts, which became popular with foreign and domestic tourists alike, the Group ventured into healthcare and the first super-specialty Apollo Victor Hospital (now Victor Hospital) in 2003,” informs Varun Albuquerque, Director, Alcon Victor Group. In 2006, a first-of-its-kind Ayurveda and Nature cure centre, Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre, was opened in Goa. “It has been rebranded as Mercure Goa Devaaya Resort and apart from Ayurveda and Naturopathy treatments, it is accepting weddings, conferences and leisure guests,” informs Albuquerque. In 2015, an upmarket boutique hotel, Viva Hotel, was opened.

CHANGING TOURISM LANDSCAPE 

“People who wanted to live a happy life filled with peace and happiness came to Goa but now their presence has diminished and the state is dependent on the domestic market,” explains Albuquerque. The Group has kept up with the times and is the pioneer in keeping up with the changing trends. “From Radisson Blu Resort to Devaaya Ayurveda & Nature Cure Centre to Goa’s largest banquet and convention hall at Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia, we have been changing our strategies,” he says.

Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia

OPPORTUNITIES IN MEDICAL TOURISM 

Albuquerque says that medical tourism was an upcoming market for business until the pandemic hit us but considering the scepticism to travel and till Covid-19 subsides completely, he does not foresee any great number of patients arriving for medical tourism. “For medical tourism to recommence, hospitals will have to take extra precautions to maintain patients’ safety, ensuring they don’t contract Covid-19 whilst being admitted as unfortunately, the international media overhyped and blew it out of proportion,” he avers.

Radisson Blu Resort Goa Cavelossim Beach

WEDDING MARKET 

“Considering the booming wedding market, we have commenced operations of our new banquet and convention hall at Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia which went live on October 1, 2021. Then there is one of the finest banquet halls for weddings at Radisson Blu Resort. We have fully developed our beachside lawns, adding more sparkle to create a ‘wow’ effect and converted Mercure Goa Devaaya Resort to a destination resort for international and bespoke weddings. The resort, with 55 rooms on the riverside, has been accepted as a new wedding destination for Goa that has been famous to beachside weddings. Mercure Goa Devaaya Resort offers a different charm together,” explains Albuquerque.

Wedding Riverside Venue at Mercure Goa Devaaya Resort

CHALLENGES DURING CORONA 

Over the last 18 months, Goa has not been as badly hit as the rest of India as it is a leisure destination and immediately on subsiding of the first and second waves, the market bounced back with business and helped overcome whatever losses that were incurred when the operations were shutdown. “We, at Alcon Victor Group, did maintain the entire team and that helped us to bounce back and open immediately as soon as the lockdown restrictions were removed,” he says.

TRAVEL, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY BUSINESS

As Goa is India’s numero uno leisure destination, the future is bright, opines Albuquerque but then he adds the market is ever-evolving and it is important to adapt to change. “In north Goa where we run the Radisson Goa Candolim. Almost 75 per cent business today comes through OTAs whereas we were dependent on the charters and domestic travel agents to bring in business earlier,” he puts in.

Mercure Goa Devaaya Resort

FUTURE PLANS 

“At the moment, we intend to concentrate our business activities in the Goa market itself. We are considering and working on a proposal of setting up a smart boutique hotel with a large food court in Panaji city,” he shares, adding, “We are looking out for expansion in tourism-related activities and examining some new opportunities which we hope to set rolling in the next financial year.”


Tags assigned to this article:
Varun Albuquerque Alcon Victor Group Wedding market

Advertisement

Around The World

Advertisement