Incredible India at Vakantiebeurs- H. E. Mr. Venu Rajamony Ambassador of India, with his spouse, Dr. Saroj Thapa, the Mayor of Utrecht the Honorable Jan van Zanen and guests.
By Catherine Dailey.
The 50th annual Vakantiebeurs was officially opened to the travel trade yesterday. The largest travel expo in the Benelux is held at the Utrecht Jaarbeurs Exposition Center and is now open to the public from 16-19 January.
The show is held in six halls organized around geographic regions and even features a “Cruise Hall.” In addition to major travel organizations such as TUI, Corendon, Da Jong Intra Vakanties and ANWB Travel exhibiting; dozens of smaller “custom” travel specialists are also present. Bolsjoj Reizen, Iran Silk Road Travel, Smaragd Reizen, Tiara Tours and the Jambo Safari Club are but a few of the many travel organizations offering unique travel programs in faraway destinations.
The show features six theaters, six themed food courts, daily dance, film and educational programs and other activities, such as photography and cooking demonstrations, which are of interest to everyone in the family.
Many embassies and national tourist boards are exhibiting. India, Indonesia and the USA are among the many.
Africa, a popular destination, has more visibility at the show than ever. The embassy of the Republic of Uganda, the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, the Botswana Embassy, the Ethiopia Embassy and the Tanzania Embassy in the Netherlands are but a few of the embassies exhibiting at the show.
Tanzania is even represented by the Senior Conservation Officer from the Tanzania National Parks (nearly 25% of the country is a designated conservation area of one kind or another). The principal marketing officer for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area known worldwide for the UNESCO designated Ngrongoro Crater, the world’s largest “inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera” and a paradise for lovers of Africa’s wildlife is also on hand to discuss the nation’s exemplary wildlife conservation initiatives.
This year, The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is the official “Guest Location.” The “Ras” is presenting unique desert resort and beach destinations to the public. Tokyo is also exhibiting at the Vakantiebeurs for the first time.
Portugal, an ever-popular destination with the Dutch market, is exhibiting with tourist boards from multiple tourist regions, including Alentejo-known for wine and cork production, the Azores, the Algarve and the region known as “Centro.” Centro is the region which extends from Porto south nearly to Lisbon and includes the UNESCO world heritage site of Coimbra (the oldest university in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe), the famous pilgrimage site of Fatima, and the famous big wave surfing coast of Nazare.
The country of Georgia has also become a very popular tourist destination amongst travellers. Strategically situated on the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the country offers enormous cultural and gastronomic diversity.
Wintersports are popular in the region and the main ski areas are Bakuriani, Gudauri, Mestia and Goderdzi. It is astonishing to note that visitors to Georgia’s mountain ski resorts have sen more than 550% growth since 2011! Summer tourism to the mountain regions has grown at a similar rate. Tbilisi, the nation’s capital, is approximately 3.5 hours flight time form the Netherlands, making it an attractive destination for shorter trips.
Trade Day closed with an award ceremony for the best “ZRAs” in the industry. The services and benefits that a, “zelf standige adviseur” (ZRA) or independent travel professional are well known and, as are the interface between travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, and tour operators) , they serve to meet the public’s demand for highly personalized travel to unique destinations in our mobile world.
Following the award ceremony, the halls emptied and both exhibitors and trade professionals gathers in the festival tent to celebrate the shows fiftieth jubilee.
The show is open through the weekend.
About the author: Catherine Dailey is a Travel Counsellor IATA certificate for travel information or reservations please contact Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 6 533 14 372
Photography by Kim Vermaat and Catherine Dailey.