4000 talented travel consultants, suppliers and press converge in Las Vegas one week each year to connect, learn and enhance their clients’ travel experience. The energy and passion for this travel connection is immense. Classes are offered by the top travel experts in the business- highlighted by Helen Nodland, and the always delightful Ann Scully. An active network called VAST offers an all day exposition to better learn about the latest and greatest offerings in the active travel industry.
We meet hotel General Managers, heads of hotel marketing, destination management companies, tour operators, safari operators, airline representatives, destination wedding suppliers, and sales directors from all over the world – 396 meetings over a four day period. We meet before the general meetings, at specialized luncheons, cocktail parties and dinners, in addition to the 396 presentations. By the time the week is over, I can say I am thoroughly ensconced in travel information. I came home energized, inspired, armed with the best information and fabulous new connections to enable me to make my clients dreams come true.
A few months ago I received an email from Lt. Marcus D’Silva who is serving our country in Kuwait. He had found a post I had made on my blog in February of 2010 about India and tiger tracking. He asked if I could help him have a similar adventure. Of course I immediately put him in touch with Toby Sinclair, and Suhail Gupta of India Safaris( Now & Beyon India- a Virtuoso company) and Salim Ali our illustrious guide at Ranthambore State Park. I told Toby and Suhail to please do everything they could to make Lt. D’Silva’s experience the best possible. As it turned out, Salim was on assignment with National Geographic, so they found Salim’s younger brother to do the guiding. Salim knows all the best sighting places. After lots of back and forth making arrangements, the trip was finally set. I was nervous because Tiger sightings are really rare, so I held my breath.
This is a portion of the thank you I received from Lt. D’Silva this week:
Catherine, Toby, Suhail, Farooq, Daljeet,
Captain Pritchard and I would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you for organizing the game drives in Ranthambhore for the two of us. 6 drives and 5 tiger sightings up close and personal. I found myself a little sick the morning we bumped into each other Toby but we drove on with the mission (as we say in the army) and had two sightings that day. Farooq your guidance was truly exceptional. Suhail your services were most appreciated and Daljeet was extremely helpful in coordinating everything. Catherine none of this would have been possible if not for your blog and your initial assistance.
Princes and presidents could not have paid any amount to assure an experience akin to what we experienced on our trip. It was a memorable experience and one of the highlights of our journey through India.
This letter is the ultimate compliment and what we consultants are all about: making a memorable sometimes life changing experience for my client. Re posts of the blog entries and pictures are below.
We are now in Ranthambore Preserve- the biggest and best of all. It was the hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Jaipur.The park was nationalized b y the Brisitsh and turned into a park in 1974. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the first park director Fateh Singh rathore, who photographed the tigers in that park for 30 years. His driver for those 30 years had a son Salim Ali, and Salim was our guide. I would send any client with Salim unless he is off filming with a crew from BBC, National Geographic or Toby Sinclair. Toby did the film Land of the Tiger- a must see on National Geographic channel and it was our privilege to have him with us guiding the trip the all the way until he had to leave in VarNASI. He is off working on a film about the black Tiger at the present.
We sighted 2 tigers the first days at Ranthambore, and on the 2nd afternoon had an unbelievable adventure!
For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughen, Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas. Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books. As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father looked at us and said “the tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement. True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer! THEN we followed the tiger (who missed the deer) 2 more times and that video is also amazing.