We blazed a trail. We refused to take no for an answer: Shoba Mohan

Founder of RARE India and a pioneer of conscious luxury, she strongly advocates women’s rights but says equality is not a one-way street.

Shoba Mohan is an accomplished and acclaimed denizen of the travel industry, with over two decades and a variety of experience. One of the trailblazers in sustainable tourism, responsible travel, and conscious luxury, she is also a prominent member of several trade associations. Her company, RARE India, is a community of small, private, concept hotels, experiential stays and immersions that place a great emphasis on local engagement and strive to preserve and protect the planet.

We spoke to her while she was on a road trip through Gujarat and Rajasthan, one of many she undertakes in her endeavour to hand pick the right hotels to add to her select list. She personally visits each, vetting them for quality of service, concept, and authenticity as well as their commitment towards preservation and conservation of the environment, destination, heritage, local traditions, culture and community engagement.

Shoba mohan, women, international womens day, rare india, conscious luxury, responsible travel
Not everything is gender bias, Mohan believes. There’s a fine line between being protective and telling a woman it’s a man’s job. How you perceive the situation also matters, she advises.

Such passion and attention to detail has always stood her in good stead. Even so, she has done the hard yards early in her career. The advice of this achiever to women entering the sector is never to think of tourism as a nine-to-five job. She also strongly believes that women should not expect special privileges if they are also gunning for equality. “It cannot be a one-way street,” she emphasises, citing her own example, “I never expected privileges from anyone. Be it rain, storm, pregnancy, period, I was there.”

Mohan also believes it’s about time the various trade associations in the travel industry think of more female representation. “Most of them are male bastions and even if you’re a part of an association, they put you in charge of something soft like gift packing!” she shares her rather exasperating experience.

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