Goa gets ready for a drink, as minister says people like to have beer or a peg with their food

goa tourism

Goa’s Ports Minister Michael Lobo has said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant would soon ask the bars in the state to be reopened.

“Restaurants have opened. But no one seems to be visiting restaurants because their attached bars are shut,” Lobo said.  “Most people like to have a beer with their food or a peg before going to sleep,” he said.

The opening of the bars would, in turn, boost the local economy, which has been stricken by the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister added.

Lobo, after a meeting with the Chief Minister in Panaji, said that until the Covid-19 situation improves in major cities like Mumbai and Delhi, which are major source destinations for inbound tourism in Goa, the tourism industry in the state will continue to take a backseat.

“For the hotel industry to start, we need guests from Mumbai and Delhi. Mumbai and Delhi already have a huge number of cases and it is increasing on a daily basis,” Lobo told reporters outside the Chief Minister’s official residence.

“Right now, we should go slow, vis-a-vis attracting tourists from these two states,” Lobo added.

According to excise statistics, during the April-May period this year, tax collection stood at Rs 21.7 crore and in the same period last year it was Rs 62.46 crore. That’s a steep fall. 

For any Goan restaurant, a bar is an important component. Goans are used to purchasing a full bottle of beer for lunch and in the evening people like a peg or two of whiskey or rum. Some are more comfortable with feni.

Restaurateurs say that Goans love listening to music in the afternoon, just sitting in a bar or a shack, but without liquor no one is interested in doing so. Many of them prefer to come out and drink, rather than at home.

With the lockdown hitting the business hard, bar owners are even thinking of sending bartenders for house parties. The liquor is to be provided by the hosts themselves, while an expert bartender can be made available for a fee.