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Raising the bar

Friday, July 06, 2018

Joaquim Boads De Quintana, Secretary General of the International Nightlife Association, spoke to Tanmaya Vyas, when he visited India during the run-up to the India Nightlife Convention and Awards 2018

Urban nightlife symbolises the culture and commerce of the city. India has been slow in catching up with the global scene but Mumbai is setting trends with the authorities’ approval of a Bill to open up popular precincts not just into the wee hours, but 24x7. Here is an expert’s view.

Can you throw some light on the India Nightlife Convention and Awards? What can one expect from INCA 2018?

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Kickstart Entertainment have come together to build the India Nightlife Convention and Awards. The property showcases the best that Indian bars and nightlife have to offer, it recognises and celebrates thought leadership, as well as providing a platform for industry stalwarts to mingle and imbibe a sense of fraternity. NRAI is the voice of the restaurant industry in India, known for uniting the hospitality community and with this venture they have helped assemble the best in the field. From inception to the approval of the Bill permitting malls and restaurants to stay open 24x7 in Mumbai, INCA has supported  the bar and nightlife industry of the country. The two-day convention encompasses workshops and panels with some of the industry’s most influential entrepreneurs, specialists and guest speakers from around the world. For the first time, it’s happening in Delhi. Everyone from the industry should mark their calendars for September 15 and 16 this year!

I hope and expect that INCA will soon join hands with the International Nightlife Association (INA) and hence come closer to making nightlife better internationally and within India.

Do you believe that an initiative like INCA can bring about a change in the nightlife scene of the country?

An initiative like the India Nightlife and Convention Awards is great for India and its nightlife industry. More importantly, this will help nightlife in India to be recognised on the global stage and be a stepping stone towards educating Indian nightlife stakeholders to match up to international standards.

What is your role at INCA 2018?

To educate everybody here about INA and come closer to getting businesses here to implement the same along with, obviously, sealing our partnership with INCA.

How do you see safety standards for women across the world to enjoy a carefree nightlife?

Although the situation has improved, I believe there is a long way to go till we achieve our goal. Hence in our 'security seals' women’s safety is a subject of prime importance.

How would you rate the nightlife in India, as compared to pan-Asia and the rest of the world?

I feel the standards have improved immensely but compared to the Middle East and Southeast Asia and the Western world there is still a lot to learn and develop. That is why I see INCA as a body very capable of bringing about that growth.

What changes should be made in the current Indian nightlife?

Above all, I believe that investment in safety is of prime importance.

Do you think having an age limit of 25 years (as in Maharashtra and some other states) for consumption for alcohol is appropriate?

I believe it is a very harsh rule, as in my country Spain and most of Europe, 18 years is a perfect age to allow alcohol consumption although with responsibility. If a person is considered an adult at 18 and allowed to choose the leader for their country, then I feel drinking alcohol is also a choice he or she should be allowed to make.

Do you think this age limit/or ban reduces the audience for nightlife?

I feel it is a problem and it does affect the audience significantly. The industry, along with government, should run educative campaigns on responsible drinking as opposed to a ban or high age limit. It’s better to educate than to criminalise nightlife.

Could we think of developing a parallel nightlife, beyond pubs, restaurants and clubbing?

Although there may be a few great options available like cinema, late night theatre and so on, clubbing  and  restaurants still seem to be a world-wide favourite and hence we need to work hard to constantly evolve and develop the same.

What kind of stringent law should be adopted to restrain offenders?

As I said before, I insist on constant education about respect for law. In my country, we use past offenders in campaigns to educate people. But all things considered, the final measure has to be and should always be imprisonment.

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