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There is a huge growth potential in the nightlife industry which is still untapped


Nightlife is a very fast paced industry. Being one of the largest revenue and employment generators in the service sector, it has not received the recognition it is worthy of. Joining hands with Kickstart Entertainment to host the maiden India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA), Riyaaz Amlani, President, NRAI, spoke on the need for unlocking the nightlife culture in the country

The government, from time to time, imposes restrictions on the nightlife industry by way of curfews, drinking age, etc. In such a scenario, what are the growth prospects of the industry?
The growth prospects are phenomenal. With initiatives like the India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA), we hope to hammer home the fact that nightclub operators are serious business people. They are responsible businessmen who are big contributors to the economy as well as employment. Currently, the industry employs over 20 lakh people. We hope that the government understands the scope of the nightlife industry and is able to see the potential of what the nightlife sector can contribute to; the GDP, employment, tourism, vibrancy as well as making Indian cities amongst the most livable in the world. We have a 70-80% growth potential which is lying untapped. If tapped into, it’s a two lakh thousand crore business.

What challenges does the nightlife industry face?
Our business is heavily regulated, and easing of regulations will increase this business by around 15%. The drinking age limit, which is now 25, is extremely high. It is possible to get married at 18 or join the army, but being prohibited to drink until you reach a certain level of age does not make sense. We are trying to lobby for the drinking age in order to reduce it to 21 years. Of course, it comes with the additional responsibility of ensuring people are safe and drink sensibly, but by lowering the drinking age alone, you can increase the market share by about 30%. Secondly, there are time limitations in India. Across the world, people are partying for 72 hours straight. We are trying to make the government understand that culture. Extended closing hours will add another 10% to the business.

You said, “Impetus and SOP’s need to be given to the nightlife industry.” What sort of impetus do you want the government to provide?
Deregulation, a rational drinking age, making the system easier and more transparent, as well as detaxation. Presently, we are the most heavily taxed industry. We have to pay the highest tax bracket – 25%, which is bizarre. Not only are we paying VAT, we are also paying service charge, service tax and excise. We are possibly the only business in India which is paying all three indirect taxes.

How do you think INCA will help bring focus to the nightlife sector?
The convention is organised by serious businesses. We wish to exchange best and responsible practices. We wish to create a kind of movement in the right direction amongst peers and unify the nightlife convention and make them believe that they can speak in one voice. We want to ensure that they are heard by the government, which can then affect other changes and help in taking this industry forward.


Source :Hospitality Biz

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