Dipak Deva, Managing Director-Travel Corporation India Ltd. has completed 20 years with TCI. We asked him to tell us about the journey. See it here in his own words:
“I was born in the beautiful city of Calcutta, and as an Indian Army Officer’s son, ‘travelling’ around the country just became a part of my DNA. Growing up in Army Cantts. I developed a healthy sense of curiosity about every new city or outpost that we lived in, made friends with people from different backgrounds and culture and above all discovered a whole new world of culinary delights that every new posting offered!
So while I spent some time in the intensely serious world of accounting as a fresher right out of college, I soon found my mojo in the travel industry. A serendipitous start at the Jaipur office at India’s leading travel companies (TCI), had me doing transfers and managing a branch office at the same time.
The journey that started 20 years ago with TCI in Jaipur took me to Mumbai and then on to Delhi, where I ran a boutique Destination Management Company, Distant Frontiers. Kuoni acquired Distant Frontiers in 2006 and I joined them and became CEO of Kuoni Destination Management, India in 2008.
Kuoni was an amazing experience for me. It allowed me to combine an entrepreneurial mind-set with strong systems and processes. The learning, the scale and the opportunities to contribute all made Kuoni a very exciting company to be with.
In 2015, as the Managing Director of TCI, I once again brought together all three leading brands, Sita/TCI/Distant Frontiers under one umbrella with over 500 professionals across 20 offices in India and Nepal. A year later we set up a joint venture with DER Touristic and TCI GO Vacation was born. It now handles all the Kuoni business.
Being a part of the Fairfax group has given us a strong platform to grow our business and take travel to India and destination management as a whole, to the next level.
Thanks to a wonderful team, the company has outpaced the closest competitor by miles, now has an annual turnover of over RS 650 crores, and is the largest producer of inbound tourism to India. We are market leaders for inbound tourism from UK, Germany, France, Russia, Spain, Portugal and Japan.
One of the things that I’ve personally enjoyed setting up, and which I believe has had a transformative impact on our business, has been the Destination Knowledge Centre. The future lab, as I love calling it, was set up in 2009 to create experiences which differentiate us in the market, and strengthen the hands of our Sales Teams and our clients Product Managers.
As the largest company in the inbound industry we take our responsibility to give back to industry and society, very seriously. Which is why CSR is a key aspect of the business today and we have partnered a number of wonderful NGO’s who are helping transform lives of many women and children who come from the most marginalised sections of society. This has given me great joy, and I am glad that Fairfax as a group is committed to giving back.
I was also part of the team that helped ensure TCI became the first Indian tourism company to acquire Destination Management Companies in 17 countries, thereby creating the first Indian-owned company with a global footprint.
Our hard work and commitment towards establishing new benchmarks of excellence in the tourism industry has been recognised repeatedly over the years, and today I am proud to be leading the most awarded travel company in India.
While I enjoy every aspect of our business, I do take special interest in all things related to technology as that’s another field in which I find my curiosity knows no bounds, especially as we have seen that technology has been an incredible disruptor in the travel business.
Learning – As I mentioned serendipity has played a large part in my life. Over the years there have been people – clients and some virtual strangers, who believed in me and gave me a chance at the right time and place. So now whenever I come across an individual, be it in any role, if I recognise that familiar hunger in them, I make it a point to give them a chance so they can find their place in the sun. Paying-it-forward in this way is a promise I’ve made to the universe. And I hope my colleagues will see value in the idea and take it forward, as its the only way we will bring in hungry, new talent into our company and the industry.
I am essentially a curious person – curious about new experiences, a better way of managing processes, delivering success. But, more than discovering new ideas and experiences, the one thing that gets me out of bed everyday, is the strong people’s aspect of the business we are in. I thrive in an environment that allows me to work with a variety of people, understanding their cultural nuances, and above all, I treasure the friends I’ve made across the world, because in this business that’s what clients become over a period of time – friends!
I’m grateful that my work has presented me with so many enriching experiences and friends in every corner of the world. I wouldn’t have it any other way! “Home