Mon, 27 May, 2019

Alcohol restrictions affected party scene in state

The party scene in the State was affected because alcohol couldn’t be served after 11 pm as a part of restrictions during model code of conduct. Nightclubs found it tough to host late night parties without alcohol. And tourists, who like coming to Goa for parties, chose to go to other destinations

29th April 2019, 03:01 Hrs

Karan Sehgal  


Goa is perhaps the biggest party destination in India. This is where people like coming from all across the country when they want to party and relax. Moreover, the State has a very liberal attitude with alcohol, which makes its appeal even stronger among party lovers.  

But, in the month of April, fewer tourists came to Goa than in April of the previous year. This is because liquor could not be served by any bar, restaurant, hotel or nightclub after 11 pm for around a month till April 23. The restrictions on liquor were imposed as a part of model code of conduct, which was implemented because North Goa and South Goa had general elections on April 23.  

Tourism stakeholders said that tourists avoided Goa because it wasn’t possible to do late night parties without alcohol. The beach belt of North Goa has a number of nightclubs, which are famous all over India for their late night parties. Such nightclubs could not do parties for around a month from sometime in March till 

April 23.  

Jack Sukhija, member, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), said, “We have seen that people don’t travel when elections happen. So that affected the turnout of tourists in Goa to an extent. Moreover, Goa is a party destination. When you can’t serve alcohol after 11 pm, party business cannot happen.”  

Sukhija continued, “I think it is good that certain rules are imposed everywhere when elections happen and those rules should be followed. For example: It is fine to have two dry days just before the polling day. However, relaxation can be given on rules like establishments not allowed to s

erve liquor after 11 pm.”  

All tourism stakeholders appreciated the need of rules to maintain discipline during the election time. 

But, they hoped that certain relaxations can be given on rules governing sale of alcohol by bars and hotels in future. Apart from such relaxations, stakeholders said that fewer tourists in April was also because this is the month when exams 

happen.  

Ralph de Sousa, chairman, de Souza Group, said, “The number of tourists is low in April every year primarily because this is when students have exams. So, families can’t travel. But, this time, we have elections as well. Goa’s USP is late night parties. People tend to drink at such parties. If bars are shut at 11 pm, then parties can’t 

happen.”  

Michael Carrasco, president, All Goa Bars and Restaurants Owners Association said, “The nightclubs business was really affected because they weren’t able to serve alcohol after 11pm. In fact, they were not able to host parties at all.”  

Five nightclubs had approached the Tourism Department seeking some sort of relaxation concerning alcohol rules. The department forwarded their request to North Goa Collector, R Menaka, IAS. Based on the recommendation of the Tourism Department, R Menaka allowed five nightclubs - LPK Waterfront, Capetown Cafe, Titos Resort and Hospitalities, Cocktails & Dreams & Casa Playa and SinQ Hospitality - to serve liquor beyond 11 pm but till 1:30 am on April 19, 20 and 21.  

TTAG has blamed Tourism Department for getting such a relaxation only for these five nightclubs. TTAG’s President, Savio Messias, had said that such relaxation should have been given to all the establishments, which have license to serve liquor beyond 

11 pm.  

Messias further said, “When alcohol restrictions were in place, I know of a case, wherein a wedding was planned to happen in Goa. They were from outside of Goa and had decided to do the wedding a year ago. Now with alcohol restrictions, they faced problem in the State when they came here for the wedding.”  

Another worrisome trend has emerged, as wedding planners have cited instances of people moving away from Goa as a wedding destination. Until around 2-3 years ago, Goa was a major destination for weddings. But now the situation is such that the State may end up losing most of its wedding business.  

A wedding planner said, “Richer people from metros like Delhi and Mumbai are clearly moving away from Goa as a wedding destination. This is because getting approvals for a beach wedding takes a lot of t

ime. 

When a person tells me that he wants to get married in Goa, he expects me to arrange everything very fast. If I tell him it is going to take a lot of time, he will go to other locations like Kerala, Sri Lanka, Thailand and etc.”  

The source continued, “Airlines have started flights to Goa from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. So a lot of people from such towns are coming to the State and they want to do a beach wedding 

in Goa. The clientele from metros is fast disappearing and it is indeed worrying us as wedding 

planners.”  

Meanwhile, R Menaka informed that there are no longer any alcohol restrictions in the State with the exception of Panaji, which is scheduled to go for a bypoll on May 19. In other words, bars, restaurants, hotels in all parts of Goa can serve liquor now after 11 pm if they have a license. But, in Panaji assembly constituency, alcohol can’t be served after 11 pm in the wake of b

y-poll.   


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