Kerala is where I started my career in India, November 1998 will mark 20 years since my first visit. I knew nothing about India, doubt I could have pointed it out on a map, but I had just secured my first “grown up job” to establish a travel company focusing purely on South India. I guess the Taj Mahal was never to be my focus! George Dominic was one of the very first people I met, back when they were still Casino Hotels and had just four hotels. I am delighted that he has remained a friend and mentor ever since, it was he who sent this picture below this morning. Back in 2001, or maybe 2000 I decided that the usual circuit in Kerala was becoming spoilt and ventures north, into Pallakad, Wayanad and the surrounds. Many of the areas which have been so badly affected by the floods.
In twenty years, the resounding feedback from all the people I have sent to Kerala has been about its people. Without fail, whether they loved the backwaters or beaches or food or tea etc, the constant refrain has always been, “The people, it was the people who made the trip for us.”
Indeed, it was the people of Kerala who got me hooked. Colleagues, now friends, who I met almost 20 years ago, who gave me unfailing encouragement and support (and the occasional beer, in a tea pot!) And subsequent meetings with people fuelled by passion, opening new hotels and offering experiences who have in turn, helped to fuel my passion. It is these people who will now, with this same optimistic spirit and resilience, rebuild God’s Own Country. This Onam will be a difficult one for many. Please assist them in anyway you can.