Globally trusted and respected as a strategic advisor and six-time published author in Tourism & Development, Anita Mendiratta is the Founder and President of ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates, a London-based international consulting firm.
With over 28 years living and working across the African continent, Anita works closely with leaders in governments, businesses, and international organisations across the Tourism, Aviation and Development sectors. Anita is also honoured to be the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UNWTO.
How did you fall in love with travelling?
Technically speaking I have been travelling since in diapers, I being born in Canada with my parent’s families in India. Annual pilgriages to meet extended family defined summer holidays. The world, and all of its diversity and difference, became an extension of my in-Canada world.
Layer on top of that growing up the daughter of a Rotarian, my ‘wiring’ was innately tuned into the bigger world around us. And the spirit of service.
My love of travel? No question about it – I fell in love with travel on an overland truck in Central Africa, taking a three-week safari to see the gorillas in Rwanda which included travelling through Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania. This embedded my love of discovery of places untouched, unplanned, unknown and unfiltered in emotion.
What kind of traveller are you?
Grateful. Wherever we are, wherever we come from, whatever we are doing, we are guests in someone else’s ‘home’. Simple.
What’s your travel philosophy?
Be grateful. It’s as simple as that. So often, too easily, our being Travel and Tourism practitioners create a separation between the visitor and visited. Whatever our passport, whatever our business cards, however we define ourselves, when we are travelling we are ‘guests’ being welcomed into the lives and livelihoods of others.
Never must we allow travelling become an entitlement. It is always a privilege. And, it is our duty to leave a place stronger and more proud than when we arrived.
What are your top travel essentials?
Aside from the usual ticket/money/passport/mobile/laptop/chargers check-list, it would be my swimsuit/goggles/underwater MP3 player/totem (a small jade Laughing Buddha that has been in my handbag for over a decade) as well as an open mind and grateful heart.
Where was your most memorable trip?
Many, many travel memories are stored in my mind and heart, but one of the most memorable was a trip to Udaipur, India, during which I spent a very special amount of time sitting behind an artisan as he painted an exquisite Rajasthani miniature painting.
How has travelling changed your life?
2020 has been a powerful mirror of how travel has changed my life, and the lives of millions of people around the globe. To not travel is to lose invaluable perspective not only of the gift of the world around us but the value of the gift of ‘home’.
Where are planning to travel to next?
‘Next’ has taken on new meaning for travellers in 2020. Typically next travels are about wishes, dreams bucket list fulfilment, etc. But in 2020 when people around the world have been rapidly, unexpectedly, kept apart, ‘next’ travels are defined by heart before holiday. Where next for me? Loved ones, wherever in the world they may be.
Best travel advice you can share?
Trust. Try, And never forget to say ‘thank you’…in their language.