With multiple business forecasts and industry research studies suggesting a surge in Goa’s restaurant and hotel sector in the near future, sunny days appear to be here for students and youngsters keen on seeking employment in the state’s hospitality sector.
As the sector expands further, the demand for employment in various roles, ranging from the front desk staff to managers to chefs, is expected to continue to rise, not only within restaurants and hotels, but also in the cruise liner industry too, which has also witnessed a resurgence post-Covid.
According to Siddharth Savkur, CEO of Kamaxi Group, which operates one of the leading culinary institutes in the state called Kamaxi College of Culinary Arts, Goa’s employment scape is looking up as far as the hospitality sector is concerned.
“As a popular tourist hub, Goa offers unmatched opportunities for a strong hospitality career. The best brands in the world have a presence here, and tourists from around the world visit. This provides very good exposure to anyone building their career here,” he said, adding that hospitality-oriented youngsters can build a career foundation in Goa, before catapulting themselves across the world because “today, Indian hoteliers are in demand globally”.
Dr Sebastian Morris, Senior Professor and Chair of the Centre for Public Policy at the Goa Institute of Management (GIM), also recognises the immense potential of Goa's hospitality industry in driving tourism, conferences and longer stays.
“The scope for Goa's hospitality industry is very large. It is a core element of tourism, conferences and longer-term stay tourism. These can increase with the right approach by at least one order of magnitude (exponentially),” he says.
Morris also advocates the involvement of local communities and villages in government policy formation for the tourism sector to foster rapid and inclusive growth.
“Essentially, the Goa government can take people and villages along on a mission mode to bring about the rapid growth of domestic tourism. Regulation to enhance the value of both the tourists and the service industry would help a great deal. Simple quality checks and ratings would crowd in the higher quality,” he says, while advocating tapping of Goa’s water resources for tourism exploration purposes.
The hospitality sector in Goa currently contributes to over 30 per cent of employment opportunities, but according to industry experts like Prahlad Sukhtankar, the Goa Chapter Head of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), hospitality colleges should look to incorporate work experience in their training module for students to make them industry ready.
"Students often graduate from school with minimal work experience. It is crucial for colleges to develop programmes within their organisations that allocate six months to theory and six months to practical work experience. This combination ensures that students graduate with robust work experience, building character and enhancing their future career prospects,” he said.
So, how do hospitality and culinary colleges groom students to gear up for professional life after academics?
Aaron Cruz Rodrigues, the proprietor of ACR Hospitality and Allied Services and an alumnus of a prestigious hospitality institute in Goa where he completed his MSC in International Hospitality and Tourism Management, shares his insights on the advantages of studying in a hospitality institute.
"It opens up a wider range of possibilities for you in terms of what is available, as well as the many departments and careers you could pursue. It displays the different food and beverage businesses we may start and operate. Additionally, Goa has several opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industries because it is a tourism-oriented state,” he says.