The evening of April 24 witnessed the grand and gala launch of “Vistas by TravelScapes” bringing together the stalwarts from travel trade fraternity at the St Regis, Al Habtoor City, Dubai. Versatile Media with a commitment to widen its global reach, crossed it’s yet another milestone, “Vistas by TravelScapes”, which enfolds 101 extraordinary experiences from India and the Middle-East region.
With this book launch which was attended by the who’s who of the industry, Versatile Media has added another feather to its cap. Every guest was wowed by the spectacular venue and welcoming arrangements and was also full of praise for the book and the veterans– Varun Malhotra, CEO and Publisher, Versatile Media and Pranav Khullar, Director, Versatile Media.
The evening welcomed renowned trade personalities like Seema Pande, Commercial Director, Al Habtoor City, Hotel Collection; Satish Jaidev, Group Director of Sales, Emaar Hospitality; Ankush Nijhawan, Co-founder TBO Group and MD Nijhawan Group; Sujit Nair, Founder and Group Managing Director, Akquasun Group; Kulwant Singh, Founder and Chairman, Lama Tours; B A Rahim, Group Director and CEO, Akquasun Group and Pronab Sarkar, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) as the special guests for the event.
The evening started off with a heartfelt welcome speech by Gurpreet K Sekhon, Managing Editor of TravelScapes who further extended her gratitude and appreciated the support that company has got from the travel fraternity.“Normally welcome speeches do not start with thank yous, but I do not know a better way to start this evening than by thanking each one of you, for your presence and being the reason we are here today. Success they say is counted by the friends you have and we can safely say we have arrived. It has been four years since Varun Malhotra single-handedly started this publication and Pranav Khullar who has been a guide and a pillar of support. We have come a long way, thanks to you all - who have let us into your minds, shared your opinions and strategies and supported us in every way,” she said.
She further concludes, “Today we are gathered here for yet another milestone – the launch of a very special product that shall be revealed in the course of the evening. So I would like to invite you all to your evening. Welcome and once again, thank you!”
The special guests were then called upon the dais to speak a few words about their personal experiences and long-term association with TravelScapes. Expressing her views on the same and talking about St. Regis as the property she has been serving for, Seema Pandey said, “I would like to welcome you all to this complex. We are very happy to have you here. We are just a year old property but it is a very special place. If I talk about my association with Varun, it dates four years back.
I remember this young man who was standing very close to my stand in a trade show and all he wanted to share was his plans for the next three years. So here I was trying to set up a new brand as we were a very young hotel brand in Dubai and was trying to set up ourselves in India and here was Varun trying to set up a new publication. We took a chance with each other and did an amazing job together. Thank you so much Varun for everything you did for my previous brands as well. He has always been a big support and shall continue to be the same in future. I wish him all the best.”
Satish Jaidev congratulated Varun and the entire team. He further shared his experience with the publisher, “As Seema mentioned earlier, one of the most striking things that come across while interacting with Varun is that he is so involved not only in these conversations but also in what he intends to do, which is amazing and the end product– is even better. We intend to interact with a lot of publications in our trade but Varun and his team; they stand up, make the product fantastic, of relevance and to the point. The quality of the products is fabulous and I am truly delighted that we are a part of this edition enlisting 101 experiences of India and Middle-East. Infact, when he reached us a couple of months ago, it was like– Satish you need to be with us, our publication may not be complete if you are not a part of it and we just had to be a part of this edition and I am very thrilled and looking forward to that very shortly. Best of luck once again to Varun and team,” said Satish.
Ankush Nijhawan appreciated the determined approach of the publisher and said, “I met Varun five years back and asked him what he wants. He said I need your support. I saw the twinkle in his eyes; I saw that passion and the dedication to do the hard work. I suggested him that whatever he’s doing, he shall continue to do so in future as he has a long way to go. Keep it up and the all the very best.”
Sujit Nair lauded the efforts of TravelScapes and said, “Today I am very happy seeing the success of TravelScapes in India and would like to congratulate Varun for taking this in Middle East. Though we all know that today’s focus is on digital media but I believe that print media has still not lost its significance and that’s why TravelScapes is leading because of its print quality and content.”
Kulwant Singh recalled the old times and said, “I remember Varun coming to me about four years ago in my office and I always thought that for me to connect back to the industry, for me to connect back to India, we need a very reliable editor who could put our products across the travel fraternity and he has proved to be the best.
What he has done in four years by putting a mark which many people cannot do in 40 years so congratulations to Varun and Pranav, both of you guys have done a wonderful job and congratulations for this publication. Also for the overseas tour operators like us who are based in this part of world, to convey the message back to our source markets, it is very important that the right editorial goes giving the correct information of our products, details of the itineraries and packages. And I think they have done a fantastic job. Congratulations to all of you.”
B A Rahim conveyed his wishes too. “Today we have to thank each and every one who’s here; the reason is that it’s a special evening for our friend, Varun and his team. At Akquasun, we follow the ‘WE’ policy instead of ‘I’, which is very important to us and today whatever we are is because of our team,” expressed Rahim.
Lauding the efforts of TravelScapes’ team, he further added, “I would say the reason today Varun is successful is because he has got an excellent team with him which has proved today what TravelScapes is, within four years, which other publications are trying to do since 15-20 years. Today whatever he has achieved, I would not say he has worked hard but he has really worked smart and I congratulate Varun and his entire team and wish you all the success in future.”
Pronab Sarkar shared his experience and said, “When I met Varun and Pranav for the first time, I was very curious that at this young age, how they will be going to compete in this publication field as there are many competitors already in the market. Then, I asked Varun about the kind of experience he has and what is his background about the publications. He told me about the expertise he gained in hospitality and publishing from London so he wanted to venture out his ideas. Today I can see how they are different and what they produce today is world-class and because of that our association always gives them full support. I would like to congratulate both of them and their entire team too as they have a very good team. I wish them good luck and convey all the very best wishes and would want to see them growing much above to what they are today.”
Being his humble best, Varun thanked the audience for their presence, time and words of appreciation. “Thank you everybody. All those wonderful words have left me speechless. It also puts a lot of pressure on me to live up to these expectations and do even better. At TravelScapes, we believe in pushing the envelope and we, as I speak for my team too, shall all work doubly-hard to ensure that we continue to surprise you and reinforce your trust in us. Thanks for joining us today,” concluded Varun.
The curtain for the much-awaited product was raised by Pranav and Khaid Waleed Al Mansoori who was representing Sharjah Tourism at the event. Pranav then presented a token of thanks and a copy of Vistas to each guest. The event was followed by fun QnA session which had the audience in splits. The evening ended with a raffles round. Lucky winners received free passes of key theme parks in Dubai. While Priyanka Nijhawan, Director- Representations, Nijhawan Group gave away the passes for Dubai Parks & Resorts, Anjum Lokhandwala and Komal Seth, Directors for Outbound Konnections gifted the passes for IMG World of Adventures.
Last year in September, the company launched its tourism guide listing 101 travel experiences from around the world. The event which was a huge success was held in Le Méridien, New Delhi and saw the attendance of Bollywood Diva, Neha Dhupia, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, key tour operators, travel agents and top hoteliers.