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The biggest challenges in this industry is the lack of standards in quality, hygiene and cleanliness: Antara Phookan

Antara Phookan, executive director – marketing, Assam Bengal Navigation believes that the human element is crucial in the travel industry

Antara Phookan, executive director – marketing, Assam Bengal Navigation believes that the human element is crucial in the travel industry

Gen Nxt Thought
Think, India first (not self, but beyond yourself), rest will all align, beautifully!

Primary motivation to pursue your professional goals in the travel industry?

I am a traveller first, always have been and always will be so I was naturally drawn to the travel industry even though I worked in different industries before committing to the travel industry. Exploring all the beautiful places and diverse cultures in the world has been my most rewarding experience. Not only does it open your mind, it rewards you in countless ways. Travel is my joie de vivre and I am also fortunate to be a part of it
professionally.

In my late twenties, I realised that I want my everyday to count which meant that I want to do the kind of work that makes me happy and makes an impact. Which is why I made a conscious decision to move back to India to join my family business where I have to invest in creative power to engage in projects that I care about. Tourism industry is the biggest driver of change and I see the first hand impact of it, which is very rewarding.

An observation you have made about the industry, both as a challenge or an opportunity?

In every challenge there is an opportunity especially in India where there are many gaps that can be filled to develop the travel and tourism industry to a global standard. However, compared to a small country like Thailand that receives 38 million tourists a year, India has a long way to go. Given that there is no other country like incredible India, there is incredible potential but we can only achieve it with a collaborative effort to optimise our country’s potential strategically. To name few of the biggest challenges in this industry is the lack of standards in quality, hygiene and
cleanliness.

Vision for the business?

My vision for our business is to expand our variety of experiences and grow organically and steadily ensuring that we deliver consistent quality. I would love to be able to continue to develop special products, grow our community and add value.

Technology has been a substantial game changer. Comment.

Technology is inevitable but the human element is crucial even more so in the travel industry. Gen Next will continue to use technology to connect, promote and organise but the luxury element will always be the quality of personalised experience.

Gen Nxt thought?

My Gen Nxt thoughts are many but if I had to talk specifically about the Indian travel industry – we are sitting on a wealth of potential but we are not sincerely collaborating to build a solid foundation for the future! I personally think, a collaboration of Gen Next to commit to a unified vision for the Indian travel industry is crucial. Think, India first (not self, but beyond yourself), rest will all align, beautifully!

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