Goa’s evolution: From beaches to beyond

The state has witnessed a significant shift in its tourism landscape

In the latest episode of BW HOTELIER’s webBLAST series, The GM Show Season 2, the focus was on tourism in Goa and the state setting a benchmark for Indian society. The discussion highlighted how Goa, the sun-soaked coastal paradise, is no longer just a destination for sun, sand and sea enthusiasts. In recent years, the state has undergone a transformative journey into a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) destination, marking a significant shift in its tourism landscape.

The panellists included Manav Malhotra, GM, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Goa; Ranju Singh, Complex GM, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa and Novotel Goa Candolim; Harish Gopalakrishnan, GM, The Westin Goa; Gaurav Apte, GM, Goa Marriott Resort and Spa; Suveer Sodhi, GM, Alila Diwa Goa and Harshad Nalawade, GM, DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Panaji. These experienced hoteliers shared their insights following the tourism diversity in the state.

According to Malhotra, “In the last two to three years, I’ve seen Goa develop into a MICE destination." One of the key factors contributing to Goa’s allure is its evergreen weather, making it a magnet for transient and luxury travellers. Malhotra noted, “The state’s appeal to transient and luxury travellers is huge because of its evergreen weather.” This attraction has translated into a notable increase in the Average Daily Rate (ADR), with a surge of 15 to 18 per cent, as stated by Malhotra.

Behind this flourishing tourism sector is a well-thought-out strategy by the state government and the tourism ministry. “The state government and tourism ministry have upped the infrastructure very well. The ease of doing business and the law and order is commendable,” he added, highlighting the praiseworthy efforts in creating a conducive environment for both tourists and businesses.

Singh, meanwhile, stressed on the importance of preserving Goa’s rich cultural heritage. “The traditional practices and local customs of the state provide a platform for fantastic storytelling,” he explained. From historical forts to temples like Mangueshi Temple and Shantadurga Temple, Goa's cultural tapestry is interwoven with captivating narratives, he said.

Singh further dispelled the notion that Goa is only about its beaches, stating, “There is a huge amount of interest beyond the beaches in Goa.” This sentiment was echoed by Suveer Sodhi, General Manager of Alila Diwa Goa, who noted a shift. “The focus is shifting towards hinterland tourism,” said Sodhi, emphasising on hidden gems like river rafting, waterfalls in South Goa, and unexplored wildlife sanctuaries.

Gopalakrishnan attributed Goa’s continued appeal to innovation in the hospitality industry. “What makes Goa truly remarkable is not its beautiful landscapes, but its evolution into a hub of hospitality and innovation in the industry,” shared Gopalakrishnan. He also highlighted the role of social media in amplifying Goa’s status as a trendsetter in this digital age.

On the other hand, Apte shed light on the gastronomic delights that add to Goa’s allure. “One shouldn’t miss the top 10 Goan cuisine offerings, such as Veg or Chicken Cafreal and Xacuti with Mushrooms, to start with,” recommended Apte. Additionally, he noted the regular emergence of Michelin-starred or 5-star-rated restaurants in Goa, reflecting the culinary dynamism of the region. As Nalawade succinctly put it, “In essence, Goa’s tourism is evolving to cater to discerning travellers.” Whether it’s the bustling energy of North Goa or the serene white sand beaches of the South, visitors now have the choice to explore the diverse facets of this coastal gem. In his words, “The state is expanding its repertoire beyond its beaches towards a rich tapestry of natural wonders and cultural tapestries.” Goa’s evolution into a global hospitality hub is evident, and the world is taking notice.

The episode ended with the moderator and host, Bhuvanesh Khanna, thanking the esteemed panellists for sharing their thoughts and views on the subject and informing everyone about the next episode of The GM Show on ‘Behind the Scenes: Operational Aspects for GMs in Goa’ at 4 pm on November 30.


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