For over 39 years, Ratna has been a part of the travel industry and is now looking forward to hanging up her boots as the Chief Executive of TIRUN Travel Marketing.
Planning a vacation? We are sure a cruise would have crossed your mind – after all, it spells the ultimate luxury and offers an experience like no other.
Ratna Chadha thought so too. Only, she is not just about taking vacations, but helping you go on them. After all, she brought cruises to India. For over 39 years, Ratna has been a part of the travel industry and is now looking forward to hanging up her boots as the Chief Executive of TIRUN Travel Marketing, the exclusive India representative of brands owned by US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises.
In 1991, Ratna and her late husband Gautam Chadha, set up a franchise of Discover the World Marketing (DTWM) in India. DTWM represented global travel brands - Hertz, US Airways, Embassy Suites and Universal Studios, among others. In 2001, DTWM-India was renamed TIRUN Travel Marketing.
"Cruising denotes luxury. You have to be heavy on marketing - getting Indians to travel to international ports requires a lot of marketing efforts. My husband applied his marketing skills and I applied my service intellect," says Ratna, a graduate from Lady Shri Ram College.
"As a pioneer of cruising, it almost felt like a startup - exciting and full of challenges. We focussed, followed through, and we persevered."
Over the last 27 years that she has been associated with cruise vacations in India, Ratna has harnessed her abilities to change the way India holidays. She is also a member of CII Committee for Cruise Tourism.
"My entire week goes in either meeting travelling partners or clients or strategising on what needs to be done to increase the number of passengers travelling in international cruises," says Ratna in an exclusive interview with YSW.
Earlier, when the business was growing, Ratna says she rarely had the luxury to unwind and relax over the weekends. "Time is short and perishable, a lot needed to be done and I used to devote all of my free time to my children when they came back home from boarding school," says Ratna.
Based in Delhi, this 63-year-old now spends most of her weekends with her grandchildren and playing golf. "My husband was a golf fanatic and would spend weekends playing golf with his friends. He would ask me to join, but I was too busy spending time with my elderly parents," Ratna remembers.
"Golf is a very challenging game and no two days are the same. One day you can play a good game and the next day could go wrong. Golf allows you to concentrate. It is the only day you are playing with yourself and it allows you to develop as a person."
An admirer of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Hilary Clinton and Steve Jobs, Ratna says she is a huge fan of biographies, and has a library full of self-authored books.
With a passion for personal stories, Ratna says, "Currently I am reading Barack Obama's biography and Michelle's is next". Steve Jobs' biography is one of her all-time favourites.
Ratna started the Gautam Chadha Foundation, a non-profit organisation to address education, gender justice and equality in the memory of her late husband.
"We recently hosted a golf tournament - The Gautam Chadha Golf Cup- collected money, and sent it for underprivileged students and to support the families of those who were martyred at the Pulwama attack," Ratna says.
A perfectionist in everything she does, Ratna feels that the idea of perfect happiness lies in "being in harmony with yourself."
Ratna's next big plan is to retire and indulge in more golf, travel some and involve herself deeper in charity.
"I plan to be very busy after I retire!"