Biting Questions with Sharmil Goswami, Sales Manager North America, Exodus
were you born?
In Zambia.I’m of Indian heritage and
my family lived there ‘til I was 4 when we moved to London. I have memories of
elephants and tigers in my back yard, but I don’t think that’s true! My British
accent surprises a lot of people but actually I think opens a lot of doors
because it’s a talking point.
have you been in the business?
13 years, starting
with a retail travel agency in the U.K. I joined Exodus in sales/reservations
in London, and came to Canada 4 years ago as Exodus GSA within Adventure
Centre. We opened our own office in July of 2014.
many people work for you?
Six. A lot, considering
it used to be just me!
the best part of the job?
Reaching people who have
never been on this style of active holiday before. And working with agents too!
We started thinking we’d have 6 or 7 agencies supporting us, but at last count 87
agencies have sold us. 60% of our sales are through agents, way higher than we expected.
did you want to be as a kid?
(laughs) A famous film director.
was your 1
st ever job? Collecting supermarket
shopping carts and returning them to the store.
the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
South Africa over open water. The deal
was, you floated in the sky then dropped into the open water. Very safe, but
My sweet tooth. If it’s sweet and in a wrapper and in my
eyesight, I’ll have it. And since coming to Canada I’ve become a donut convert.
your favourite airline?
I really like AC. I’ve
travelled with them extensively in the past 4 years and am always impressed by
the courtesy of the staff. I’ve never been let down.
Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver. They provide
in-room iPads that control your curtains, the TV – all the electronic toys
do people not know about you?
At university I
studied fine arts. I sketch a lot when I travel.
were you happiest?
When I’m travelling with my
family. My 8 and 11 year old daughters now have Canadian accents, and my wife
is Italian - so we are quite a cosmopolitan-sounding family!
there anything you won’t eat?
I’ve never said “no
thanks”, because in many countries you may offend your hosts. So I’ve eaten insects,
snake, and…what was it? Oh yes, live octopus soup in Thailand.
at the top of your bucket list?
celebrate my 50
had a brush with fame?
I was in a shop at Heathrow
- probably buying a bar of chocolate! - and couldn’t make up my mind so signalled
the person behind me to go ahead. It was [boxer] Mike Tyson, who was very
pleasant about it.
is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes. I don’t know why.
If you could change one thing about the industry what
would it be?
The surcharges on holidays during
school breaks. It’s exploitative.
you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
George Clooney. Seems a nice
guy with an interesting life. He could introduce me to the world of George
will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months?
Finding clients for the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt, Tunisia
and, unfortunately, Morocco and Jordan are all suffering.
do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
hopefully in travel, perhaps running a
small tour operator allowing me to show people my favourite parts of the world
such as Italy.