AlumniCreating your own adventure in luxury travel

Aditya Munshi is charting his own course with the opening of his travel company, The Wayfarer Travel Co after amassing over a decade's worth of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Why did you switch to a career in hospitality after studying to be a lawyer in Mumbai?
I started my career as a lawyer, ready to work hard and climb the corporate ladder. I realised soon after that it wasn't what I wanted. So I took a break and went skiing in India and was inspired to set up a ski resort without realising the astronomical investment involved. I spoke to a career guidance counsellor who advised me to pursue further studies in tourism and hospitality in Switzerland instead.

After I completed my MBA at César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, I got my first job as a Management Trainee with Amanresorts' first property in the USA at the Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I started as a porter/concierge and over the course of 18 months worked across several departments with immense satisfaction.

 
MBA at César Ritz Colleges Switzerland
 

I knew I was on the right path and I've been fortunate to have a career that has taken me through USA, Peru and now Australia.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My favourite job to date was working as a Luxury Travel Specialist for The Andean Experience Company in Peru, where I gained invaluable experience crafting customised itineraries for clients. The job allowed me to express my creativity and leverage my deep passion for travel. I also got to stay at some of the top hotels in Peru such as the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas and completed a unique Lodge to Lodge trek to a stunning region in Cusco called Ausangate. I also spent four unforgettable nights on a cruise down the Amazon River on the luxurious cruise boat Aria (part of Aqua Expeditions).

How has the landscape of the luxury travel industry changed since you first started?
I've noticed that people are more price-conscious today than before, largely due to recessions, economic downturns and other such factors. Even the wealthy affluent travellers who used to be willing to splurge on holidays, are seeking value. Having said that, travellers today are willing to pay good money to experience something authentic or different during their travels.

How do you define experiential travel?
Travel is no longer just about a staying at beautiful luxury or 5 star hotel - it's about what comes with it. It could be an experience of staying with a local family on an island on Lake Titicaca, to a trip to a cave in the American Southwest and discovering tools used by native Americans from centuries ago or even witnessing sacred ceremonies at Ayers Rock - something that they will always remember.

Experiential travel is about bringing home memories from the places you've visited. Memories that you will cherish and relay to friends and family.

The Wayfarer Travel Co.

What can a client of The Wayfarer Travel Co. expect other than getting a completely customised travel itinerary?
As my career has always been in the luxury segment both in hotels and travel, a client of The Wayfarer can expect the finer touches in their travels such as having a personal concierge. For example if they traveled to Peru, we would provide them with a dedicated phone to reach their concierge to assist with restaurant bookings or answer any questions they may have. Travellers visiting countries, especially in South America, have language barriers and this helps them to overcome them. Having guides in the US Southwest who have Native American blood and really know the land, know the people and respect the heritage.

What's your most memorable travel experience to date?
It's impossible to name just one as I try to travel to a new destination at least once a year. One of the most exhilarating experiences I've had was in New Zealand where I tried 'Canyon Swinging' twice. You're fitted into a chest and seat harness then attached onto a rope swinging system. Following that, you basically jump off the cliff, into the canyon and hope it all ends well (joke)! My most memorable would be my trek to Ausangate in Cusco, Peru - Nature at it's raw best.

Young entrepreneur

What advice do you have for aspiring young entrepreneurs?
I am an aspiring entrepreneur myself, although not very young anymore! The only advice I have is chase your dreams and with hard work, research and dedication anything is possible.

Don't get disheartened by failure, as it only makes the challenge greater and the rewards are much higher once you have succeeded.


Aditya Munshi graduated from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland in 2007 with an MBA in Hospitality/Administration/Management

Aditya Munshi graduated from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland in 2007 with an MBA in Hospitality/Administration/Management:

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