Widely regarded as one of the industry’s most influential leaders, Naveen Kundu, is a notable figure in the Travel, Hospitality, and Event Management space. In an exclusive interaction, we learn about Naveen’s journey, the current scenario of the travel industry, and his view on emerging trends.
Revolutionizing the industry
As Managing Director of EbixCash Travel Group for India, South East Asia, and the Middle East and Founder of Leisure Corp Pvt. Ltd., a leading MICE Management Company, Naveen shows immense passion and devotion to the tourism sector of India. With multiple awards in Tourism under his belt, Naveen has always been driven to achieve the best, with a career that spans over 30 years.
It was in 1990 that the ‘hospitality bug’ bit, as he started his career at Choice Hotels International and quickly became the fastest-growing executive in less than five years. Mastering the business of hospitality, international franchises, hotel positioning, and affordable luxury, Naveen was the best in the business.
“I cannot deny my undying love for hospitality. Today, I run two resorts in a personal capacity, Aqua Hideaway Resort and Spa, a 40-room Game Lodge in Jim Corbett, India’s largest National Park and Tiger Reserve, and Bara Bungalow, a colonial heritage Portuguese property in South Goa.”
From Passion to Profit: Naveen’s Path to Entrepreneurship
Leisure Corp Pvt. Ltd, began its operations in 1997 specializing in the hospitality and travel sector offering a range of services in the MICE segment, including hotel reservations, customized holiday packages, and destination management services.
The product brought so much innovation and variation into the business of MICE and that lead the way into paving the future of the segment in India. Even to this date, Naveen is considered and celebrated as the ‘Mice Man of India’. In 2018, the company was named the “Best MICE Operator” at the SATTE Awards and in 2019 it was recognized as the “Best Travel Company in India” at the India Tourism Awards.
“I recognized that in India, there was a need for folks who understood the business of MICE and even though many knew about the product itself, they had not yet understood the art behind it and that’s where I came in. I’m grateful that even today, the industry acknowledges my efforts.”
Risk, Reward, and Resilience –
In October 2019, Ebix, the global company, and provider of software and e-commerce solutions announced its acquisition of Leisure Corp Pvt Ltd, with a focus on expanding its presence in the travel industry and strengthening its position in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing travel markets. This acquisition was a strategic move for the company, as it allowed them to expand its offerings and increase market share.
As a travel company, Ebix has over 22 offices in India. A global corporation, with a business that spans across 66 countries with offices in over 16 other destinations besides India including Indonesia, Dubai, the Philippines, and Singapore, to name a few. Ebix Cash Travel Group has a strong market presence in India and has well-established partnerships with leading airlines, hotels, and travel suppliers.
“The platform that I am now laying for Ebix is in terms, part of relaying the foundation of business and redefining the art of – travel, business, and rebooting. It has been a delightful journey so far and I’m determined to take Ebix to global levels. Ebix Cash Travel Group from India will emerge to be the next biggest multinational travel business in the world, from India!”
Travel Prophecy –
Naveen vehemently encourages influential people like himself, people who are in high positions, and have the good fortune to be heard; to get together, keeping their personal aspirations aside, to step up and bring social and economic empowerment to every last mile and person in India.
“In the coming years would like to see myself contributing heavily towards the business of tourism in India, something I continue to do, even today, irrespective of my position. I am an Indian bull and strongly believe in the story of my country and that no amount of wealth can get me away from her. She is our collective responsibility and we must empower our people and our country”
Post the pandemic; the industry coined the term “revenge travel” as tourist numbers from and within India started to build up. According to Naveen, the current numbers are from “necessary travel” that has long been pending, and “revenge travel” as predicted by Naveen, would only begin in 2023 and 2024 and reach a whopping 50 million travelers by the end of this timeline!
Living a Robust lifestyle –
As an avid runner himself, Naveen has set up a foundation called the ‘Art of Running’ where he teaches participants how to build stamina as they run. Naveen is passionate about fitness and a triathlete who trains in running, cycling, and swimming. For the last 25 years, Naveen religiously works out five days a week, with an aim to remain mentally and physically in great shape.
“I am a firm believer that no amount of wealth can buy you good health. God has given us only one body, mind, and breath and it is our responsibility to take care of it so, I give credit to my physical fitness and to following a spiritual path for the success that I see today and in my future.”
Spirituality is important to Naveen, as he trusts and dedicates himself to holy practices. He is an active member of the Isha Foundation; a non-profit organization founded by Sadhguru. Naveen strongly advocates that besides making money, there is a need for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness in all human beings.
“Tourism is in my blood! I have always believed that India is a vast country, so rich in culture and heritage and that makes the potential for tourism even greater. Today, I breathe, live, and dream tourism!”