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The Gulf Goans Hotel Company Ltd that owns Hotel Goan Heritage in Calangute is a singular example of company ownership, not to mention amity between fellowmen, finds out SHOMA PATNAIK

A hundred dreams

The Gulf Goans Hotel Company Ltd that owns Hotel Goan Heritage in Calangute is a singular example of company ownership, not to mention amity between fellowmen, finds out SHOMA PATNAIK
The beach belt of North Goa is choc-o-bloc with hotels. But none perhaps have origins as unique as Hotel Goan Heritage, Gaura Vaddo, Calangute. It seems apt to recount the hotel’s beginnings on a Monday when Friendship Day celebrations are still warm.
Way back in mid-1970’s, a group of Goans in Kuwait nostalgic for everything back home deliberated over a business that they could establish in their homeland. A business that would endure when they come back and fetch them returns in retired life. The business must also contribute to the local economy, they said. And so with tourism just picking up it was decided to start a hotel with shared ownership.
About 100 Goans, a loose group of friends and acquaintances working in Kuwait, came together to contribute money from their savings to build a hotel. They were just normal Gulfies with middle class means and doing regular jobs. None had prior experience in hospitality, but surprisingly their business plan fructified. The hotel came up well, and today, Hotel Goan Heritage is one of Goa’s reputed participants in the hospitality industry.
The hotel spread over 10,000 sq mts of beach facing prime land is owned by the Gulf Goan Hotel Company, a registered company incorporated in 1979 with authorized capital of Rs 5 crore and paid-up equity capital of Rs 60 lakh. The first chairman was the late Flavia Pimenta from Divar who did the ground work of selecting hotel site, buying property, construction and getting the whole project started. Also remembered for the initial hard work is Vincent D’Souza whose contribution is invaluable in setting up the hotel.
The company, says Antonio Jose Cordeiro, director, has a 12-member board of directors. Unlike other companies that are started by an individual promoter or by a couple of partners, the Gulf Goan Hotel Company is unique, he says, because it is co-founded by a crowd of shareholders. Over the years, the number of shareholders has increased to 240 as original members have gifted shares to their sons and daughters.
Goans are vociferous in opposing each other in the gram sabha meetings but it is interesting to see how they all collaborated in establishing a company and subsequently a contemporary three-star resort that is financially stable and currently giving steady dividends from the profits.
Goan Heritage, says Cordeiro, took some years to be set up after the company was incorporated and completed 25 years in 2012. The hotel, he says, was envisaged with 101 rooms but thanks to CRZ regulations in 1991, had to be built with 75 rooms. Construction, he adds, was in stages with Phase 1 of about 32 rooms and the balance added later. Built as a resort it is quite successful, making shareholders immensely proud and happy at the end-result, he says
The dividend pay-out is 100 per cent and the company is financially healthy with enough reserves and low debt. Director Pascoal A Soares adds that the company was set up with loan from the EDC and was the first to repay the loan. Further, it was also the highest income tax payer at one time. In the early years, the hotel employed Goans and therefore fulfilled the objecting of helping local economy, however, currently it also has outside staff because of the overall paucity of labour in the state.
Coming back to Hotel Goan Heritage, says Sydney D’Cunha, general manager, it runs to 85-90 per cent occupancy in peak season and about 55 per cent occupancy in off season. The clientele in the early years was mostly foreigners as they did a lot of charters, but currently it is a mix of business between domestic and international tourists. In the off season, says D’Cunha, the hotel focuses on the MICE segment.
The hotel’s forte, he continues, is in weddings and it is built up quite a reputation for a wedding venue among foreigners looking for a big fat Indian wedding and among Indians eager to marry in Goa.
In the future, the Gulf Goan Company wants to replicate the success of Goan Heritage and set up hotel properties in Dhargal and Rivora where land is purchased, says Cordeiro.

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