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To find out more, we reached out to a group of professionals who are roughly between 30 and 40 years old – these are people who are active on the travel and vacation front. And as we mentioned in our previous interview, this demographic is useful to us – and relevant, in terms of vacation interests and feedback. (Where they go, what they do, and what they look for at a vacation resort.)

(Here’s one young professional we spoke to.) For us, a swimming pool comes first at a vacation resort. We’re not club members in the city that we live in, and do look forward to just hanging around in a pool setting. All resorts have pools these days, and many of them also have a junior pool which is extremely useful, according to me. The little ones can be reasonably safe out here.

I must add here that the pool needs to be safe to swim in when it comes to water quality. Some of them overdose on chlorine, which is not exactly desirable. We also look forward to clean changing rooms, shower heads that work, and a good supply of well-laundered towels and accessories.

What else? Resort pools these days don’t have a lifeguard at the pool location, and I wonder if this is too much to ask because it gives you some reassurance. Even if a guest in the pool can do a rescue job, you need someone from the assigned pool staff to know and administer first aid procedures.

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Airda / September 2022

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You can sit for hours, watching the Taj change its moods with every change of complexion in the skies. Interestingly, the vision of the Taj is framed differently from each window of the fort across the river Yamuna. And from what I have experienced, something magical happens when you come within sighting distance of the Taj. You see a landscape of greenery, with the river around leading you gently towards a point where the Taj rises majestically into the frame.

The magic starts even before you get there, with eager anticipation. As we are nearing it, crowds and long lines of visitors build up momentum. And when you enter the big gate, the monument stands majestically before you. The first glimpse of a demure, ivory-white dome set against the blue skies is a sight to behold. It beckons the visitor to go closer and closer, and get a view of the Taj in all its glory.

And when you get closer, you rub your eyes in disbelief and say to yourself: am I really in front of the Taj, or is this a dream?

There’s more on this story at this link > World of Travel / September 2022

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In this feature story we talk to Lalit Roy of Raj & Roy Agencies, about the benefits of a trade event for hospitality professionals. We also cover the recent event organized by Incredible Fairs and Media under their World Of Hospitality banner. The event was held in Bengaluru on June 8, 9, 10 – 2022, and has been described as South India’s most comprehensive B2B food, drink and hospitality expo.

(From Lalit’s responses in our interview) The highlights of the event as described by the organizers included a showcase experience for 200+ exhibitors, 8000+ HoReCa trade professionals, 200+ hosted buyers, and 600+ leading brands.  Event activities included knowledge seminars and special events, a competition for chefs, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and a focused pavilion for food, beverages and hospitality equipment.

The industry categories were wide and varied, though the core alignment was with the hospitality industry. From the promotional material shared by the organizers, I observed that there were 36 stall categories. Right from commercial kitchen & refrigeration equipment, chilling & freezing, coffee & beverages, to hospitality technology, communications and entertainment. The listing also includes furniture and furnishings, housekeeping, tableware, crockery, table accessories, and more.

There’s more on this story at this link on the AIRDA website > World of Hospitality / June 2022

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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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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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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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