The Moodie Davitt Roarport
The Moodie Davitt Report is providing exclusive daily coverage of Wild Tiger’s Roar Trip, one of travel retail’s boldest CSR initiatives, via our special line extension, The Moodie Davitt Roarport.
Via phone and social media, we’ll be with Gautom Menon and Paul George Vedanayagam on every stretch of their epic 65-day road trip from Kerala to Cannes and be there to greet them on the French Riviera when they arrive on the eve of the TFWA World Exhibition. We are unlikely to be alone. More news on that coming soon.
Duty free retailers: If you’d like to meet Gautom and Paul along the way (see their destination course below) let us know at Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com.
EUROPE. Wild Tiger co-pilots Gautom Menon and Paul George Vedanayagam are into the final days of their epic journey from Kerala to Cannes.
Leaving Poland, they faced a long, 11-hour drive from Warsaw to the Hungarian capital city, Budapest. But, according to Gautom, it wasn’t that bad as industry friend, and ‘Trouble Retailer’ Andre de Almeida (Loch Lomond Group Managing Director – Global Travel Retail) kept them company, entertaining them with tales of his university days in Scotland.
According to Lonely Planet, Budapest has “something for everyone”. Its history is dramatic, its architecture is flamboyant and its nightlife is “unrivalled in Eastern and Central Europe”.
The threesome headed for the city centre and to Szimpla Kert, a venue with a maze of bars and food options. A shot of Palinka, a traditional fruit brandy, proved the perfect way to end Andre’s short but sweet visit.
Gautom and Paul were not alone for long though as they were joined by Paul’s wife, Matilda (now known as T3), who will accompany them to Cannes. They had time to take some great shots of the trusty TRiger at Heroes Square and enjoy what Budapest has to offer. As Gautom notes: “The weather was gorgeous and so were the sights”.
Then they were off to Zagreb in Croatia.
“We have made it a habit to tune into local radio each time we ‘Skross’ a border to just feel and live the vibe. We heard about a Burger Festival in Zagreb and decided to head there; coincidentally it was right next door to our stay,” Gautom notes.
“We loved the concept and vibe of the event,” he says, noting the friendliness of the locals and the country’s immigration officers. The Tiger twosome took a stroll in beautiful Zrinjevac Park before nightfall, another memorable experience within a journey that has been full of unforgettable moments.
The next morning the threesome headed to Bratislava, the capital of neighbouring Slovakia. On Day 57 they managed to cross four borders, making a pit stop in Lendava, Slovenia, before driving across the length of Hungary.
In Bratislava they were greeted by prominent business man and lobbyist, Akshay Dixit, who owns the Ashoka Indian restaurant. Gautom says the food and their time with Akshay, who he describes as a “very enterprising and well-networked gentleman”, were the highlights of the day.
Outside the restaurant the TRiger proved extremely popular. Gautom said they were “mobbed” by a group of tourists who flocked around the vehicle.
They then headed straight to Vienna and “by sheer coincidence” into the final day and hour of the Vienna Rum Festival. Well, as expected, they had to try a dram of rum or two. Wild Tiger Rum has taken part in previous years but this year it had a more pressing engagement.
It was, as Gautom points out, “a pleasure to meet members of the global rum family”.
Already in the party mood, the Wild Tiger threesome was then invited to another festival, by their friend Sirosh George of the Prosi Group. The company operates one of the largest and finest Asian, African and Latin American food stores in Austria. Sirosh insisted they joined him as guests of honour at an African Yam Festival with over 400 people mainly of Nigerian descent. With the TRiger attracting huge interest, it almost turned into a traffic Yam.
“Many of them couldn’t believe that we have driven this far, and many pictures were clicked around the TRiger that night,” Gautom says.
The Wild Tiger team were guests of honour again at another event, the annual Onam celebrations, conducted by World Malayalee Forum of Austria, the next day. According to Gautom, Onam is the biggest and most prominent festival of Kerala. The event was attended by over 300 Keralites from all over Austria. “We enjoyed a sumptuous ‘Onam Sadya’ meal on a traditional Banana leaf. It was the first time we ate with hands during the trip, and we South Indians are no strangers to it.”
Gautom was invited to speak at the event and also announced the lucky draw winners. The event was attended by prominent Austrian MPs and businessmen.
After a “food-coma-inducing lunch”, the Roar Team bid farewell to Austria. They had planned to head to Prague in the Czech Republic but made a detour to surprise a number of childhood friends who had met up from around the world in Munich for the city’s famous Oktoberfest.
“It was a purrfect surprise and we partied at the Paulner tent. My friends were thrilled with the reunion and I’m so glad we did this detour,” Gautom reports.
“Of course it’s all about beer at the Oktoberfest and so we Rumaicans indulged in Bavarian beer.”
Getting serious again, Gautom points out that he and Paul have completed 24,500km and, by the time this Roarport hits the internet, they will have added another 1,000km to that total.
Gautom estimates that the TRiger will have covered over 27,000km by the time it reaches Cannes. That’s roaring rumdiculous.
Next stop is Amsterdam where a busy schedule awaits, that includes B&S, Seva Group, Penntrade, the Indian embassy and Style Labels
The Roar Trip continues…
Footnote: A special Roar Trip welcome has been arranged for the Wild Tiger team in Cannes on the evening of Saturday 28 September. Attendance is strictly limited and subject to invitation. If you would like to welcome Gautom and Paul to the French Roar-viera in style, please email Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com
##RoarTrip, #Roarforourtigers, #KeralatoCannes, #WildTigerFoundation #TigerConservation
HOW TO SUPPORT THE WILD TIGER ROARTRIP
Via the official website – www.roartrip.in
Account Name: Roar Trip WTF
Account No: 6766903189
Bank Name: Indian Bank
Branch: Sivananda Colony Branch, Coimbatore – 641 012,
Tamil Nadu, India
IFS Code : IDIB000S075 /SWIFT: IDIBINBBCBE
Please encourage your colleagues, friends and family to consider doing so.
En route to Cannes, the daring duo will be meeting up with other travel retailers. Those wishing to ‘meet and greet’ them are encouraged to make contact. Yes, Gautom will be checking his email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EARLIER ON THE WILD TIGER ROARTRIP…
#RoarTrip, #Roarforourtigers, #KeralatoCannes, #WildTigerFoundation #TigerConservation
ABOUT WILD TIGER RUM: Kerala-based Wild Tiger is India’s first rum to be produced from a blend of molasses and cane spirit. The rum’s velvet tiger print stripe packaging reflects the fact that no two tigers share the same stripe pattern – so the stripe design of the sleeve has been designed and cut to ensure that no two bottles are alike.Wild Tiger made its Indian travel retail debut in February 2016 and is now available in 53 countries.
ABOUT WILD TIGER FOUNDATION (WTF): Wild Tiger Foundation is a CSR initiative by Wild Tiger Rum, which contributes 10% of its profits to the cause. It is a registered non-profit organisation headquartered in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India that focuses on the conservation of the tiger and its habitat by raising funds and creating awareness. It was founded in 2015 by drinks entrepreneur Gautom Menon and Coimbatore-based businessman Suprej Venkat.
The primary focus is the conservation of tigers and their habitats within the state of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, specifically Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Kerala and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. Wild Tiger Foundation acts as an influencer and an enabler.India had around 100,000 tigers in the mid-19th century. Today it has around 2,200, underlining the urgency of the conservation cause.