I define my work as the Creator of concepts and Disruptor of existing cliches: Ramji Natarajan, Chairman, Rribada Films and Travel Masters
For being close to committing suicide to building his niche in the tourism space, Ramji Natarajan, Chairman, Rribada Films and Travel Masters, has come a long way.
How would you define your journey in the travel trade?
I would like to say that this journey has been most fulfilling and an humbling experience in the same breath. I am not shy to admit that I live life king size. My profession gave me the vibrant opportunity to explore over 130 countries, some many times over, interact with cultures and communities and in turn gaining a global perspective.
What were the primary challenges you faced?
Initially i was a fish out of water . Coming from a film background of working for around seven years in the movies, it was impossible to adapt to the Corporate style of working and that to in a large Travel Agency (Travel Corporation India). I lost my job within six months . Felt absolutely useless but not hopeless.
What was your trigger point of success?
Devastated on being sacked in my first job in travel sphere I didn’t know what to do . Around this time I received a role as villain in a movie with the condition that I to handle their travel and services. The film was scheduled to be filmed in Hong Kong. I worked super hard for this project, received accolades for my work and with that I remained my confidence and also my pride.
How do you see the industry today in terms of its evolution?
Industry is evolving every day . Change is constant.
What are the necessary actions or reforms needed to bring in real change?
You have to be relevant with Change, which is happening every minute. It is time stereotyped TAs move out of their comfort zones. When one resists change becoming irrelevant is inevitable. The writing on the wall is hard and clear, resisting change is like inviting one’s downfall.
As a niche tourism expert, how would you define your work?
I define my work as the Creator of concepts and Disruptor of existing cliches
What made you take the call to move away from the ordinary to something focused?
I didn’t feel good being as one among many thousand Travel Agents fighting for the low yielding crumbs / Airline commission, which was dwindling by the day. I didn’t want to fight with the airlines as others did. I decided that I must do something path breaking wherein clients will want to partner with me for my unique skill sets.
You are known to be candid about your failures. What gives you the fighting spirit in business.
I have seen failures in every corner of my life . I failed in academics. I failed as a musician . I Failed as a film actor. I Failed as a Travel Agent and again when I was 54 years old iI became a bankrupt in business but I simply never gave up and I kept bouncing back every time I went down . Frankly I had this “ nothing to lose“ attitude and I always see a world of opportunity in front of me. Today I still feel young at 60 years of age and I am ready to go for yet another big hit.
However, on a rather stoic note, I would be candid and say, I have two parallel life journeys . The one, which is reflected as a globe trotting professional, in company of famous personalities and celebrities.
The other journey is my past when I was a complete failure when it came to academics. I struggled all through the years during my formal education from school right up college days. Innumerable demeaning adjectives were associated with me. I was also a major embarrassment to my parents. I was very close to committing suicide . But I have always been a fighter within. After years of struggle, I found my calling in Film Tourism. I gained confidence and went from strength to strength to wherever I am today.
Your message for the industry and future youth leaders.
Please don’t be a whiner, be a Winner in whatever you do. Create your own niche , make customers and stake holders your loyal partners so that they love you and not loathe you. Finally, keep innovating and be ahead of the curve and don’t resist change but embrace it.