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Sariska is a beautiful location in the Alwar District of Rajasthan. It is surrounded by hilly terrain and a landscape that is visually delightful. People living here are warm, welcoming and culturally rich. As a wildlife student, Sariska fascinates me because it is home to diverse flora and fauna.

The Sariska Tiger Reserve stretches over an area of (approximately)1200 km² – a landscape that presents deciduous forests, grasslands and rocky hills. This area was a hunting preserve of the Alwar Maharajas and was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958.

In this feature interview we chat with Nilesh Singh, who is a drone pilot at the Sariska Tiger Reserve. He talks to us about roles, responsibilities and the kind of work his team does at the reserve.

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Travel / August 2021

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AIRDA wishes Club Mahindra 25 fun-filled years

This year Club Mahindra celebrates 25 years in vacation ownership. And best wishes from AIRDA on this key milestone – we are proud to have you as a member.

In 2011, Club Mahindra made headlines as India’s largest holiday company. One year later, it won the same title in Asia. In 2015, Club Mahindra acquired Holiday Club, a Finnish brand with a 98% stake.

Today, the company is regarded as the 7th largest vacation holiday company in the world, outside of the United States.

Club Mahindra’s vision and growth plans aim to take it within the circle of the top 5 vacation ownership companies in the world – purely on the strength of its member base. As India’s favourite resort chain, Club Mahindra is getting one step closer to this goal.

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Airda / October 2021

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I’ve been travelling ever since I moved to Mumbai, 13 years back. Initially it was locally, between states and once I got my passport, abroad. I sometimes travelled as part of my work, going to cover events and spending hours just in transit to reach remote locations. But, those trips gave me as much joy as a well-planned vacation in a cold, hilly town.

As a travel writer, I am often invited on sponsored trips and though hectic, they are still enjoyable. I often extend my stay in these places, so I can explore them my way. Now, as a freelance writer, I travel whenever I can (responsibilities permitting). I have savings that are in place mainly to fund my trips, because the INR is still very weak.  The advantage of being a freelance writer is you need just a stable internet connection and your laptop – and you can work from anywhere.

In this year, my goal is to explore my home (Goa) and discover all its hidden beauty.

There’s more on this story at this link >
World of Travel / July 2021

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Can you re-live one experience back home in India, linked to a dream vacation?

The backwaters of Kerala got me hooked as soon as I took my first boat ride with my parents from Vaikom to Kochi. It was almost like a dream; I was just a child then. I had to wait many more years for another visit, on a Coir Board photography assignment in Kerala. The trip coincided with the famous Nehru Boat Race at Alappuzha, and that made things all the more interesting.

The call of the backwaters

For me, personally, the call of the backwaters didn’t stop with that trip. I did go back to Kumarakom, many times – and the last trip in 2018 was extraordinary. For one whole day, I was drifting about the Kumarakom Kayal with my family and friends – with not a worry in the world. Keeping me company of course, was a glass of fresh toddy – neat for extra comfort! The Pulikkattil houseboat ride was like no other – an unforgettable experience worth doing all over again.

There’s more on this story at this link >
Message of the Month / February 2021

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Talk to us about the romance and magic often associated with the Taj – what makes it so special?
You need a little eloquence here to answer that question, and I quote William Shakespeare – “A wonder of wonders in the world, the Taj Mahal is a living edifice of human passion, which neither History dares to bury in its grave nor does Time dare to forget.”

When you’re right there, standing in front of it, the Taj is like a painting with a warm glow of passion, love and romance – intricately woven into the architectural highlights. I am also fascinated with the thought of how a monument of love can turn into one of the Wonders of the World.

The Taj Mahal is perhaps the biggest and most magnificent symbol of love – and the visual appeal here is just as romantic as the stories associated with it. Both the Taj and the Mehtaab Bagh nearby, are popular locations for wedding and advertising related photo-shoots – sometimes the backdrop can make all the difference to the story.

More on our interview with Vidushi Gupta at this link >
Q&A Interviews / June 2020

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Priyanka Rastogi

Priyanka Rastogi is an author and travel entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in Tourism & Hospitality. She has just published her first book Early Sunrise, Early Sunset : Tales of a Solo Woman Traveler Across North East and East India. The book is an outcome of more than 100 trips done in the region over last 6 years.

Priyanka is an IATA qualified travel and tourism professional with industry experience across contracting, sales, operations, customer care and product development in the domestic travel sector. She has held senior level positions in India Hotel Review, Goibibo and Stayzilla. As a senior marketing manager at Goibibo, she was in charge of operations in the east and north east region – directly responsible for 1200 properties.

Priyanka is currently involved in the incubation of kiomoi.com –a technology-enabled experiential holiday planning & booking platform. Through this innovative business model, she plans to help the under-served markets of north east India.

More on our interview with Priyanka Rastogi at this link >
Message of the Month Interview / June 2020

 

 

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This is an interview with James George from Dubai, in our Q&A section.

How hard does it become to take a break for a vacation?
My brother Joel and I look forward to the great outdoors, together – because I live and work in Dubai and he is based in Bangalore. Oftentimes, life gets in the way and the time we do eventually spend when we meet is with other family members at home. When I came down this time, he had planned this trip so we could spend some quality time together and really unwind. Naturally we wanted the quality of our destination to be enhanced by the locale of our stay.

But, taking a break isn’t easy – you need to align calendars and make concrete plans that you can stay with. I am glad we were able to make this trip in the beginning of February – before more than half of the world’s population went into lockdown due to Covid19. Since the experience is recent, I have fond memories at our resort in Virajpet, of the Club Mahindra experience.

More on our interview with James George at this link >
Q&A Interviews / May 2020

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In the last months of 2019, people looked at 2020 as the turnaround year for business and enterprise, building up to a year of strong consolidation. The anticipation was short-lived as Covid-19 literally took the world by storm. As we present this story, the world is no longer the same – but we always have tomorrow to look forward to. (We do.)

This month’s Q&A session reflects the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people who actually planned to go on vacation during March / April this year. With bookings made, all they needed to do was pack their bags.

However, these conversations also reflect an understanding of the current situation. People are overcoming their initial disappointment with responsible thinking.

More on this story at this link >
Q&A Interviews / April 2020

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A swimming pool with a beautiful backdrop – at Sterling Wayanad

Ullas Abraham is a young hospitality professional based in Mangalore. He runs two transit guest houses in the city –a 64-room property and a smaller 12-room establishment. He also has hands-on experience in running a standalone restaurant – which means he knows what it takes to keep his guests happy, comfortable and satisfied.

Before he ventured into the world of hospitality, Ullas worked with Thomson Reuters as a content analyst, and says working within the rigid framework of the corporate world was not what he had in mind as a long term career path. More importantly, “hospitality” was something he always had a passion for – to be with guests, to anticipate their needs, and make them comfortable.

In this interview Ullas talks to us about his vacation at Sterling Resorts in Wayanad. He also talks about the one good reason he was forced to take a break from his hectic work schedule.

More on this story at this link >
Q&A Interview / March 2020

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Picture : copyright Shiva Prasad

Shiva Prasad is a Mumbai-based management graduate in international business. He chose filmmaking as his career, and has worked in Indian and British films. He also worked as a creative researcher for the Hindi feature film Irada, which won the Indian National Award in 2018. He has also been rated as a top photographer on Google Maps. As an extension to his passionate interest in anything smartphone, Shiva is an active stock video producer for leading stock agencies across the globe.

Shiva tasted success as a filmmaker in the year 2013, when he was stranded in the Uttarakhand flash floods. He managed to survive that and captured nature’s fury in great detail on his smartphone. (That was all the shooting kit he had with him at that point.)

Shiva has filmed a 20-episode television series on India’s holy river “Krishna”, with his smartphone. And Samsung, too, was inspired to produce a promotional video about Shiva Prasad’s creative journey in movie making.

For our Message for the Month feature we chatted with Shiva on his personal journey, and how people on vacation can take better pictures and videos on their smart phones. (This is the first segment in a two-part series of interviews.)

More on this story at this link >
Message of the Month / March 2020

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