The widely traveled KV Singh has been a tourism planner since 1976. A wild-life enthusiast, horseman, mountaineer, environmentalist and a gourmet, he simply loves the Scandinavian region. A scion of the royal family of Khandela, he owns and operates lovely boutique hotels and resorts in India. Together with Daily Scandinavian his organization is now ready to promote regional tourism growth in India as well as in Scandinavia.
Daily Scandinavian has interviewed CEO K. V. Singh at India Heritage and Culture Tours, who wants to broaden his business by constructing a meaningful concept of tourist experiences between the two regions, India and Scandinavia.
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Royal family background
“My family has been pioneers in tourism. My father introduced horse safaris with stays in magnificent forts, places and castles of nobles and princes of Rajasthan State of India,” says Singh. “What began in 1953 as a non-commercial activity was transformed into high-value personalized tours with focus on heritage and wildlife experiences,” he adds.
Because of the family’s background his father was able to create a niche market and organized authentic royal palace wedding events. K. V. Singh has continued this business and introduced many new elements into it.
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K. V. Singh tells me that his family has been rulers of the estate of Khandela for over thousand years until India became a republic in 1950.
“My wife and I are now hosting guests with aplomb, entertaining them in evening soirees and offering them delectable meals of immense variety,” he says enthusiastically.
Tourism is a challenging business. What keeps you motivated to renew and improve your business?
“I find this business challenging but joyful. Traveling around the country to discover new areas, new routes, the local culture and traditions, myths and legends, arts and crafts and above all the benefits to local communities when we promote or open their areas for tourism is what thrill me greatly.”
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What’s your secret to being able to offer visitors the best of India?
“I try to craft tours that are not “rushed” so that the guests are able to soak in the atmosphere, the drama of everyday living, participate in the local fairs and festivals and explore the extraordinary heritage of India in its myriad forms.”
Will there come any interesting new offerings in the near future?
“We are working on several new offerings: volunteer tours, yoga and meditation tours, vegan tours and Thar Desert Jeep Safaris with stay in tented accommodation. We will also have wonderful small group offerings for Bhutan – The Land of Happiness.”
Do you support business travelers as well as vacation tourists?
“Our company supports business travelers, royal palace weddings, wellness, volunteer tours and vacation tourists of all age-groups. We offer an immense variety of holidays. We also like to organize tours for solo travelers, couples, families and small groups who can be given personal attention without being intrusive.”
Any advice to people planning a visit India for the first time?
My only advice to those visiting India for the first time or subsequently is to come with an open mind, not being judgmental, dress appropriately and have an in-depth cultural exchange with the many people they will meet. An empathetic attitude is just what people here want. I am sure they will go back with wonderful memories.”
What are your free time activities – if you have some time left?
Whenever I have free time I spend it on supporting my daughter who runs a non-profit
organization dedicated to educating adolescent girls. Through a large network of school teachers, health workers, families and the girls themselves we endeavor to highlight the importance of personal and environmental hygiene. We also help conduct self-defense classes and teach girls on what is an appropriate touch or not.”
Can you with a few words tell how your travel business is different from many others?
“My travel business is unique in that we try to avoid the superficiality that often characterizes tours.
This is only made possible by our extended family members across India who own and operate majestic palaces, forts, castles and havelis and where I accommodate my guests.
There is always a family member on the property to spend time in the evenings with the guests, offer them barbeque, drinks and slow cooked food. They talk with the guests about their history, family traditions, armory, battles won and lost, cavalry, the exotic liquors that were distilled, hunting expeditions and much more.
It is these unique interactions that make my guests wanting me to design tours for them for the many regions of India. They are my repeat customers who have become long lasting friends.”
The Indian Goodwill Ambassador to Scandinavia
Mr. Singh concludes by saying that he is very keen to find out how he can deepen his relationship with Scandinavian travelers. He finds the Scandinavian people very attractive and is deeply interested in being a part of constructing a meaningful concept of tourist experiences between the two regions, India and Scandinavia.
The Indian Goodwill Ambassador to Scandinavia, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): CEO K. V. Singh at India Heritage and Culture Tours and his wife Rudrani Singh. She is an expert in slow cooked food cooking.
All images, courtesy K V Singh