"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

Views & Interviews

Q&A: Talking to Rajiv Sawhney  - CEO of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd.

October, 2011

Rajiv Sawhney is the CEO of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India. He is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and has 29 years experience in FMCG and Telecom.  Rajiv was part of the core team that built the Telecom business of Hutchison in India.  He was later the Country Head of Hutchison Telecom business in Thailand and Indonesia.  Before joining MHRIL, Rajiv was responsible for the Telecom interests of the Essar group in India and Africa.

We talk to Rajiv Sawhney about the Sasan Gir resort and some of the big attractions around the location.

Q: What makes Sasan Gir such a big draw on the travel circuit?

A: The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as Sasan-Gir) is the only home of the pure Asiatic Lions, and identified as a protected area in Asia. At the Club Mahindra Safari Resort, we might just be able to take our member residents into the lion’s den, which can be a roaring highlight on a holiday.

With the government promoting tourism in a big way, Sasan Gir is fast becoming a major tourist destination. The proximity of Somnath Temple, Junagadh, as well as Diu has made Gir a popular hub for both tourists and family vacation seekers.

Q: Could you give us some project highlights in terms of facilities and features?

A: Our resort is located right inside the jungle whereas other resorts are located near the main road. Jeep Safaris inside the national park, led by experienced local tour guides are a major attraction out here and the adventure begins as soon as one drives into the resort.

On the facilities front, we now have 43 rooms including 81 bedrooms, 12 studios, 11 tents and 12 hotel units. Comfort zones include a swimming pool, a multi-cuisine restaurant, a fin zone and children’s play area. Our facilities at the resort are mapped around the needs of different age groups – that’s what makes your holiday truly fulfilling.

Q: What is the special mantra behind the Club Mahindra experience?

A: Club Mahindra Safari Resort gives you the comfort of superior and well-maintained facilities, with the backdrop of local flavours in terms of culture, people and experience. That’s how our theme, “Love thy Destination” comes into the picture. As a resort, we’d like to bring into perspective the culture and heritage around us, and help local communities achieve common goals and aspirations.

We also aim to personalize a guest’s holiday experience, by playing the role of an experience partner. This way we attempt to make every moment memorable and help guests get the most out of their holiday.

Q: What about sustainability and responsible tourism?

A: Holidays at a Club Mahindra Resort can encapsulate the entire experience – cuisines, sights, sounds, local crafts, people, the architecture … the flora and fauna. According to us, “sustainable and responsible” tourism places an extended focus on caring for local communities, cultures and the environment. In Sasan Gir, the responsibility also includes wildlife conservation.

The end objective, as always, is to build sustainable value around what we have on offer. This way, we partner with the people who live and work locally to share the benefits of tourism. Our team members are the delivery system for holiday experiences, and are encouraged to develop a closeness for local cultures. By building their own knowledge base they will play the role of personal guides, which is a great relationship formula.

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