1. How did you end up working in the tourism industry?
Traveling from my teenage years, backpacking across the Greek Island to seeing the world from behind a camera and microphone as a journalist brought me to the country I now call home: Aotearoa New Zealand.
2. What inspired you to start this company?
The relaxed attitude of the Kiwi’s gave me the space to explore new horizons. Tourism from Europe was relatively small and especially travellers from the Netherland came down under mainly to visit family and friends. A gap in the market was there for the holiday market and the company was founded
3. Describe your first sale/customer.
From the start , our way of working has been to gain the respect and trust from our overseas partners and to build up a reputation to match. The first self-drive was based on the hope that the car, the accommodations and excursions would deliver on their promise. It all went right and after 23 years most of our wholesale clients are still with us!
4. What was your first tour like – and what has changed compared to your most recent?
Not a lot has changed in the way people see our country, we have got more to offer and are working a lot on tailor made itineraries selling New Zealand in a sustainable, sexy, smart and surprising way.
5. What part of the company are you most proud of and why?
Making me proud is the fact that I employ people that are happy sharing the country with travellers that appreciate the delicate destinations we promote.
6. What do you feel sets your company apart from other DMC’s?
We are not for the masses, we choose our partners on the basis of selling New Zealand as a boutique destination, not a supermarket!
7. What does a standard working day look like for you?
I like the creative side of my work, the way the industry is changing and how my company fits in to this. I like to talk about these things and exchange ideas. This and looking after my staff and creating a financial sound business is part of my 4 day work week.
8. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I am a good sleeper and like to make the most of the day. Getting up is not too difficult, feeling rested. The sun pouring in, my two 17 year old sons getting ready for college are helping too.
9. What keeps you up at night?
A worldcup football Match featuring the Netherlands national team.
10. What other CEO’s do you look up to and why?
I admire people for taking leaps in being different and or accountable. Elon Musk for making electric cars sexy , the NZ CEO for the eco store Malcome Rands, who made plant-based household cleaning, body care and baby care products that are healthier for people and the environment with no nasty chemicals a great sustainable business and CEO’s that put people before profit.
11. where do you see the company in 5 years?
Still in the beautiful Central Plateau of the North Island overlooking New Zealand’s largest(crater) lake with the same people I work with now .