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Travel Counsellor's Fred van Eijk: Why There Will be More Opportunity For Quality Travel

Fred van Eijk, the founder of Travel Counsellors in the Netherlands and Belgium, expects there to be more opportunity for quality travel rather than mass tourism after the corona-crisis. He shares his thoughts below.

Fred van Eijk, the founder of Travel Counsellors in the Netherlands and Belgium, expects there to be more opportunity for quality travel rather than mass tourism after the corona-crisis. He shares his thoughts below.

Now that the world is settling into the new reality of a temporary lockdown and social distancing, I’ve noticed that more and more people are seeing the downsides of mass production, overconsumption and with that also mass tourism.

The rare, beautiful things in life become more important to us. This new view on the world teaches us to produce, consume and also travel more
consciously.

I predict that ‘Quality Travel’ will become the norm. Perhaps less often, but with more thought and more value; we’ll take one or two amazing trips a
year and less low budget in between.

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Image: Fred van Eijk

For our industry and definitely for independent travel agents and specialists this development is one we and should all embrace.

Replacing the cheap and quick breaks, which barely generate any margin, with travels that have real value and a healthy margin, is a great way into the future.

The travel industry was already on its way to sustainable tourism before the corona-crisis. We should continue that step in the right direction when the corona-crisis has ended.

The need for more tranquillity and authenticity is an international trend, something that you can see clearly in the booking behaviour of customers.

There is also a trend in the search for unique travel destinations. Meaning customers opt for countries that aren’t the obvious choice for a holiday or city trips to the so-called secondary cities.

Image: Fred van Eijk

People have a deep-rooted love for travel and embrace destinations that are off the beaten track. Just have a look at the repatriation that took place over the past weeks, travellers were brought home from the most remote places.

I don’t agaree with people who are urging others, mostly on Social Media, to stop travelling.

You’ll find this type of message from people who are now in self-isolation and suddenly come up with the idea that we should stop travelling altogether. You cannot blame travelling for this crisis.

Starting up the economy again doesn’t just mean to stay home; tourism also contributes a great amount to our economy as well.

Conscious tourism is not only a consumer product but it’s also an important source of income for holiday destinations.

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There are destinations that are completely dependent on tourism. And by that, I mean that the work created by tourism benefits entire families and makes sure there is food on the table, people often forget that side of tourism.

Of course, we do need to think more carefully about how we travel and how we treat our environment with more sustainable choices. So, we shouldn’t just stop travelling, but we should start travelling thoughtfully. In our field, we were already well on our way to this new way of travelling let’s keep going in the right direction.

I expect travel after the corona-crisis to be more about human connection and making up for the lost time.

Right now, customers miss having people around them and when all this is over, they’ll want to travel with multiple friends and family members. A holiday will, therefore, be worth much more for the customer and also for the travel advisor.

For this kind of quality travel, good advice is crucial to making decisions. I look forward to this future, one that really isn’t too far away.