Active Board of Director: Gaurav Namit
Vice President, Fourwinds Tours & Travel
Watch candidate interview.
Please describe your experience as a volunteer within or outside the travel community.
I have worked with Socialite a 501c3 organization that specializes in helping provide solar lighting systems for villages in rural Africa for many years. This organization has helped bring light to the poorest communities in the world.
Please describe your professional experience in the student travel industry.
As Vice President of FWTT I have been actively involved in every aspect of the business for the last 5 years. This includes but is not limited to sales, operations, operational management, sales management, new trip creating, technology innovation and customer support.
Please describe other professional or personal experience that would benefit you as a Board member.
Before joining Fourwinds I had spent many years working on various startups in Silicon Valley. These had achieved various levels of funding and one acquisition. This startup mindset helps me push forward the student travel market even through the traditional travel lens.
Please describe why you would like to serve as a Board of Director (Active).
The current crisis in the world has uniquely affected the student travel market. With overall travel demand bottoming out, the student market is in a particularly difficult place trying to understand how to navigate this time of crisis. I think this requires the student tour industry to band together with a new set of initiatives and failsafes to help allow for the market to re-open and flourish when schools are allowed to travel.
What do you see as the challenges facing the student travel industry? What can SYTA do to meet those challenges?
I think the biggest challenges will be understanding what it will take to get schools, school boards, and parents comfortable with the idea of travel again. Both the financial risk of booking a trip, as well as the health and safety concerns. I think creating a unifying mandate of minimum cancellation requirements as well as health certifications for venues will be key in helping people overcome these fears.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Nominating Committee?
I think the student travel market will bounce back as it has through every single other world crisis we have faced. I think being at the forefront of what the market needs will help not only keep SYTA more relevant than ever, but also allow companies to come back stronger than many other industries through this.