Khiri Travel: Truths and predictions

BANGKOK, 30 November 2018: Everyone has the right to an opinion and as Khiri Travel is celebrating 25 years in the inbound travel sector in Asia this year, founder Willem Niemeijer, certainly has the right to pass on his five-by-five insights.

It just happens to add up to 25 statements penned by the company’s official branding specialist for each year the company has weathered changing times and trials of travel agency management.

Are we impressed? Do we agree, probably not, but it’s Niemeijer’s anniversary, not ours, so we will shut up and listen.

Five Truths

“When you choose a career in travel, don’t make money your motivation. There are other industries out there where you can make more, and easier money.

“Environmental certification (such as Travelife) for a DMC is not only morally the right thing to do, but it also pays dividends for companies.

“People are king. Finding, hiring and retaining the right personnel is the biggest challenge out there.

“Email and instant messaging are great business tools, but do not replace face-to-face contact

“Good travel is defined by human connection more than place.”

Five Trends

“China will continue to transform not just the travel industry in Asia, but the global economy and culture. India will continue where China leaves off.

“The rise in independent travel bookings with people creating their own holidays using the internet will become more pronounced.

“As new tourists from major markets continue to visit destinations where over-tourism is already a problem travellers from mature markets will move elsewhere.

“Single-use plastics will disappear from the travel industry. For guests from markets such as the USA and the EU this is already the norm.

“In a time of mergers of the travel giants, smart investments in the travel industry will give rise to a slew of new niche specialists.”

Five Wishes

“For governments to listen to its citizens and use funds to improve tourism dispersal.

“For fewer or no visas – or at least make applications easy online affairs.

“In mainland Southeast Asia, make overland travel by car easier for locals. Use Europe as an example.

“For the tourism industry to do more than pay lip service to achieve sustainability.

“For political stability in Asia. It’s a region where many countries have a fractious relationship with democracy.”

Five New Destinations

“Nan – Northern Thailand. This province is home to many amazing national parks and is a cultural hub.

“Flores – the gateway to Komodo will develop further as a wonderful new destination in Indonesia.

“Cambodian Islands will feature more in programmes, making Cambodia a stand-alone destination.

“Mergui Archipelago in the remote southern part of Myanmar accessibility from southern Thailand offers exciting possibilities.

“Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka,  close to Yala National Park receives much fewer visitors but is better for wildlife safaris.”

Five Predictions

“Augmented Reality will be a breakthrough technology in travel to add value to museums, national parks, restaurants and travel trade shows.

“With the threat of over-tourism and the increase in travel products, the industry must redouble efforts through responsible initiatives to protect its reputation.

“Financial crashes, currency volatility, oil price swings, natural disasters, terrorism, and outbreaks of disease will all continue to wreak havoc on tourism.

“More realism in travel advertising will be mandatory; the end of empty paradise beaches when the reality is otherwise.

“Space Tourism will finally become reality.”