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Meet the Boss: Parik Laxminarayan, Enchanting Travels

Parik Laxminarayan, Enchanting Travels

Here at 101 Holidays, we like to get to know the people behind the world’s finest travel companies. This week we talk to Parik Laxminarayan, founder of Enchanting Travels.

Parik started Enchanting Travels in 2004 with a friend he met at INSEAD, the international graduate business school, “because we thought there was a better way to do tailor-made travel to exotic destinations”. What began as Enchanting India  has grown into a global company with 150 employees in seven countries offering bespoke travel to 27 countries around the world.

* Where did you go on holiday in 2011, and why? Any plans for 2012?

A lifelong dream has been to do a walking safari in the wilds of Africa. This dream came true last year on my trip to Zambia, which is arguably the best destination on earth to get up close with amazing wildlife on foot. It’s clearly not a destination for the faint hearted, but of course with excellent guides, great safety standards and top notch safari experts, Zambia was unforgettable.

In 2012, I plan to explore Brazil; it’s our next expansion destination in South America. Given that Brazil will be in the limelight with the World Cup Football in 2014 and then the 2016 Olympic Games, I expect that the country is thriving with energy and excitement and I want to feel and be a part of it.

* What is your favourite bolthole in the UK and why?

Having travelled the world and visited some of the most amazing destinations on the planet, the UK is still one of my favourite travel destinations. I love the countryside of Scotland and in particular, the city of Edinburgh. With golf, mystery, history and quaint landscapes all around, Scotland is top of the list when I dream of a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

* If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

Buenos Aires, Argentina – it’s chic, trendy, friendly, and has a great vibe at the weekends.

* Please tell us three items that are always found in your luggage.

Running shoes, mosquito repellent (I obviously love travelling to wild places) and my new iPad.

* What one thing would most improve people’s overall holiday experience?

Slow down! A lot of holidaymakers want to try to see as much as possible in as little time as possible. Isn’t a holiday about relaxing and taking in the experiences, savouring that feeling of freedom and enjoying the most important luxury of all – time? My advice is to visit fewer places in the destination and spend one or two more days in each place. There’s so much to explore in the hidden street corners and nothing is more fulfilling than feeling the vibe of a place in a local restaurant.

* What has been your worst holiday experience?

A recent over-ambitious holiday to a remote national park on safari, not because of the place but because both my kids, aged four and one, fell sick. It was a harsh reminder that young children can’t do an eight-hour safari in an open jeep through a remote national park. There’s a reason the minimum recommended age for safari experiences is five. On the flip side, the kids seem tougher after that holiday and can’t wait for our next one!

* Tell us your favourite hotel in the UK.

UK: Turnberry Resort, Scotland

Mainland Europe: Mandarin Oriental, Munich

Rest of the World: Banjaar Tola, Taj Safaris, Kanha National Park, India

* What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

A technology tool to enable a traveller to automatically tailor-make an itinerary using smart, interactive questions and information.

* Thanks, Parik.

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