It is an official get away from the workplace for the extended family of colleagues who work together with many of their personal family members joining too. They are much loved and awaited by one and all, me included. It is an occasion to bond with your peers and friends at the workplace as well as for their families to get to know who their loved ones work with. More importantly our Annual Retreats are a remarkable platform to learn from the destination that we take much care to select each year.
Ever since we started with our first annual retreat, Goa has been off our radars since we thought Goa isn’t new to anyone, there are so many unexplored destinations which is on offer in India and most importantly Goa has been an ever popular destination for a every second corporate offsite. However, when you are surrounded by people who are far more smarter than you there is never a dull moment in life and it keeps surprising you with stuff which is beyond your imagination. All you need to do is listen and you’ll learn.
Having my fair share of being part of a smart peer group this year I succumbed to the popular demand of picking Goa as the coveted destination of our Annual Retreat in 2023 and am so glad that I did. There were logistical compulsions as well on account of the large contingent that we had to host which would have required efficient travel and lodging options. Goa is well connected by air and has a wide range of options for accommodation. So it rolled with all wheels moving towards Goa.
Like most of us in India I too have been to Goa several times with the last being in 2021. However, Goa of 2023 was a pleasant surprise. It began with the choice of landing into Goa with the recently opened brand new Mopa International airport in North Goa while the older one at Dabolim closer to the south still running on its full steam.
Accommodation choices in Goa have transcended beyond the hotels run by best of the hospitality chains which have always been there. Now you could choose from the cozier boutique hotels to the privacy of a private villa curated to your taste tucked away quietly in a quaint Goan neighborhood far away from the touristic noise. Goa now offers a complete range of choices to camp with one for everyone. Once you have parked yourselves in the den of your choice Goa gives you even more options to go around. The mobility scene in Goa has grown from the local taxis and agile scooties on hire of yesteryears to car rentals across a range of four wheels that you wish to drive. Car rentals seems like a cottage industry in Goa with anyone having one could be in business and you are spoilt for choice. With you behind your favorite wheels nothing is far from you in Goa. Whether it’s an enthralling walk on the beach in the mornings to balmy lunches to mesmerizing sun downers, you could register your attendance for each experience.
Next on the list of pleasant surprises from Goa of 2023 is the gastronomical explosion. Goa seems to have become a fertile ground for the very talented and entrepreneurial chefs to open their signature dining places. Goa now offers you cuisines from all over the world. You could savour not just the Pan Asian but specialty Japanese, Burmese and Vietnamese food. Then there is a whole range of Mediterranean and middle eastern segment. Indian options too have evolved to creatively curated Indian dishes. Goa has also become a coffee heaven with cozy cafés and bakeries run by their passionate owners offering you a complete menu of coffees in the warm company of their home baked breads. Goa has grown way beyond its goan fish curry.
What could be the reasons behind this incredible transformation of Goa from a popular domestic tourist destination to a destination at par with any other in the world. Goa happens to be the smallest state in India in terms of its area and perhaps population as well yet it has become the most affluent Indian state in terms of per capita income. An average Goan earns two and half times more than an average Indian with its per capita income at INR 4.8 lacs per year even though its contribution to India’s GDP is a mere 0.34%. Even an average Delhiite trails Goa by 20% with a per capita income of INR 4 lacs per year. Goa’s relative affluence looks even more stark when we get to know that the per capital income in Bihar is a woeful INR 50,000 per year or just about INR 4,000 a month. Even though Bihar’s economy is 8.5 times bigger than that of Goa in absolute terms the productivity of each citizen of the state of Goa is 9 times higher than that of Bihar. So what is it that Goa is doing differently within the same country to get miles ahead of other states? Is there something that we can learn from the Goa model?
Goa is simply attracting business from the entire world which then makes the per capita size of its addressable market perhaps largest in the world. It has not restricted its opportunity set to its neighboring states, region or even the country. Goa is ready to welcome and host anyone and everyone from any part of the world. It is ready to host the world not just for holidays but also for corporate meets, retreats and even weddings. It has also positioned itself over the years as the go to destination anytime of the year thus, increasing its commerce by a multiple of two if not more. As affluence grows in India, Goa with its global culture has attracted affluent Indian families to invest in second homes and even live there resulting in the growth in the real estate industry of Goa with land prices having gone up 2-3 times since the Covid years. In this process Goa has become a melting pot of diverse cultures and is on its way to become as cosmopolitan as Singapore or Dubai. It has attracted wealth from all over which shall only grow as wealth attracts wealth. Goa has the potential to become Monaco of the east which has the most expensive real estate in the world in per square feet terms.
Goa tells us loud and clear that it is not the size of your pond that matters but your ambition to fill it. Goa has chosen to add value to the entire world by getting ready to host one. It has looked beyond its horizons to attract opportunities from far and above. Friends, if Goa can do it each one of us can do it too no matter the size of our role in the organization or the scale of our business. It is not where we are today that matters but where we can be from where we are today that would continue to define our lives. No one reaches a destination without imagining it. While fate is what we all come to in this world with, we create the destiny with the choice of the destination that we imagine.
So Friends size doesn’t matter. On this note allow me to wish you a relaxed closure and the very best last days of 2023 around your loved ones. Thank you for your love, affection and mindshare through the year and more importantly thank you for being always around.
Signing off for 2023 with my warmest wishes, love and affection for a wonderful 2024.