The man behind making Malaysia a preferred destination among Indian travellers, Manoharan Periasamy, Director – India, Tourism Malaysia, was instrumental in setting up the tourism board’s office in India in early 2000. “Although we were one of the late entrants in this country, we realise that India is a dynamic market and there is always room for growth for everybody. We have been successful in promoting Malaysia as a most popular stand-alone destination for first-time outbound travellers and repeat/experienced travellers from India. This change in its status is the result of the consistent and direct marketing activities adopted by Tourism Malaysia.”
Born and brought up in Malaysia, the 48-year old, Political Science Graduate from the National University of Malaysia started his career as a Teacher and then moved to Sales. In February 1991 he joined Tourism Malaysia and was responsible for production of publications, brochure, flyers, etc. Gradually, he was delegated to organise events and was responsible for domestic promotions. After a successful stint with Tourism Malaysia for nine years, considering his dedication and outstanding performance, the tourism board designated him with the responsibility of setting up the India office. India Innings
Periasamy believes that his posting to India is a landmark moment of his life. “I was supposed to go to Hong Kong but was transferred to India to set up the operations here. When I came to India I wasn’t aware of the opportunities and new challenges which this vast country had. My stint in India has given me a different outlook on work and life. Back home we had different view of the Indian market but now having worked here I have better understood the culture and psychic of people. It is an eye-opener. I have adapted myself to the Indian psyche and have tried to extract the best from the local culture,” he opined.
During the initial years, Periasamy used to travel a lot since the responsibility of developing Malaysia as a travel destination and creating awareness about the various tourism products of the country rested on his shoulders. Periasamy has two daughters, Karlyna lasika, who is 18 years old and 17-year-old Ahrissara. “In the beginning I used to take my family along with me during my official visits (outside Mumbai), so after I finish my meetings, I could spend time with them. However, during my daughters growing up years I wish I could spend more time with them,” he said.
Favourite Holiday Destination: Goa & Maldives
Favourite Drink: Black Coffee
Favourite Song: 80s melody
Favourite Book: Journeys Through Babudom and Netaland (T S R Subramanian)
Favourite Restaurant: Royal China (Bandra) & Gajalee Restaurant (Juhu)
Everyday Periasamy wakes up 5.30-6.00 am and goes for a 45-minute to an hour walk at Juhu Beach (Suburban Mumbai). After having a cup of coffee and a toast, he leaves for work at 7.30 am. On his way to office at Nariman Point (South Mumbai), Periasamy checks his emails, makes work-related phone calls and liaisons with his head office in Malaysia. On his way to work, he stops to have breakfast, which is usually idli-sambar and coffee. “I stop by at Madras Café near Mahim,” he said. Periasamy usually reaches office by 8.30-9.00 am and before starting work, he browses through Indian newspapers and news online to keep himself updated.
When it comes to work, Periasamy is organised and a systematic person. “I don’t like clumsy people and I prefer things to be neat and tidy,” Periasamy affirmed. His lunch is either with a client or at a nearby restaurant with office colleagues. There is nothing called siesta in Periasamy’s dictionary. After Hours
On a regular day when there are no events to attend, Periasamy leaves office by 6.30-7.00 pm. Weekends are usually spent with family, which includes enjoying lunch at different restaurants. “My children like to experience and explore new restaurants. We prefer Italian cuisine and are regular to most of the Italian joints in Bandra," he added. Besides hanging out with family, he enjoys watching movies at home with them.
Periasamy follows a simple philosophy in life ‘Agree to Disagree’. He believes that everybody has their own perception and one can’t impose views on others. “The way you look at things is different from others. For instance: A half empty or a half filled glass is all a matter or perception, which is influenced by educational background, upbringing and situations in life,” he opined.
There is nothing called de-stressing in Periasamy’s dictionary. “I never thought of de-stressing. Stress come from problems so try to find solutions to solve the problems rather than harping about it,” he stated.
Periasamy is very particular about time when it comes to meetings. “I respect others time and expect the same from them. I have refused many meetings just because people don't turn up on time and give unreasonable excuses," he stated.