The route to market in the new tourism reality

The COVID crisis has changed the way of doing business and selling tourism. To help tour operators make sense of the new tourism reality I wrote an article for The Good Tourism Institute that gives you tips for finding new business partners and customers from Europe once tourism recovers.

Please note with the travel advisories in Europe changing rapidly it is even more important to figure out who can travel where, when and how. The good news is that important source markets for long haul travel like Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland will be lifting some of the negative travel advisories for destinations outside Europe from October 2020. No doubt more European countries will follow.

In the meantime check this overview of OTAs for inbound tour operators/DMCs:

B2C distribution channels



Stride Travel


Much Better Adventures


Adventure Junky


Positive Travel

Via Fair Travel

Responsible Travel

Trip Connexion

Clean Travel

Fair Voyage

Go Barefoot


Do It

We Travel

Insight Guides


Local Booking


Safari / Africa focus



Your African Safari

Gallivant Africa

Kumba Africa

Safari Deal

B2B distribution channels


Buzz Travel

Winding Tree

The list is a work-in-progress and will be updated every now and again. If you see OTAs listed that are no longer in business or have other OTA tips that I should add then do let me know!


Future of Tourism Coalition

Green Heart Tourism has become a signatory to the Future of Tourism Coalition.

Interested travel and tourism stakeholders are invited to show their support and become part of the movement by joining as signatories. The Guiding Principles provide a clear moral and business imperative for building a healthier tourism industry while protecting the places and people on which it depends. Those Principles call for signatories to:

  1. See the whole picture
  2. Use sustainability standards 
  3. Collaborate in destination management
  4. Choose quality over quantity
  5. Demand fair income distribution
  6. Reduce tourism’s burden
  7. Redefine economic success
  8. Mitigate climate impacts
  9. Close the loop on resources 
  10. Contain tourism’s land use
  11. Diversify source markets
  12. Protect sense of place
  13. Operate business responsibly

The foundation of these principles was built on a firm belief that taking a holistic approach to responsible and sustainable tourism is the only way to secure the future the Coalition stands for. 


Widen your African horizon: tour Tunisia!

With travel advisories slowly lifting tour operators looking to restart tours to Africa may find their options are a bit limited so why not widen your African horizon? Now is a perfect time to get creative and shift focus from southern and eastern #Africa to the North, to #Tunisia! Same goes for long haul specialists that previously dismissed Tunisia as ‘just a beach destination’, you have been missing out on a hidden gem.

Tunisia has done extremely well in tackling the COVID19 crisis and is open to welcome and host visitors safely. It may not have the bush and Big 5 but you can definitely plan a self-drive #safari‘ away from the masses in wide open spaces enjoying national parks, friendly locals, superb historical sites, delicious wine and olive oil tastings, desert experiences, rich food and culture staying in gourgeous traditional dars and quaint guesthouses. After your deep dive into the hinterland you can top it off with some beach time.

Sounds like a plan? Need a reliable inbound partner? The Import Promotion Desk #IPD) is supporting some excellent sustainable tourism specialists. These #DMCs specialise in cultural, soft adventure and ecotourism routes.

If you would like to be connected to them, email Emilie :


Resilient Destinations launched

Supporting Tourism’s response to the COVID-19 Emergency

What are we doing?

Resilient Destinations is there to help tourism businesses and destinations deal with the COVID-19 crisis. New travel & tourism initiatives are emerging all the time but it’s difficult to keep track when you are busy dealing with cancellations, guests, staff and local communities.

Resilient Destinations want to find them all so as to:

1: Provide a simple place where people from across all sectors of the industry can quickly look for resources appropriate to their needs.
2: Connect people and initiatives with one another so we can collaborate, avoid duplication and support one another.
3: Learn from this crisis, preserve what is transferable to future emergencies, and hopefully be better prepared next time.

These are tough times but tourism always bounces back. Stay positive and get organised as best you can in the meantime.


IPD and CBI tourism SMMEs maximise their alternative ITB Berlin

Despite ITB being cancelled tourism SMMEs from Nepal, Ecuador, Tunisia and Myanmar that are part of the IPD and CBI tourism market access programs made the most of their time in Berlin.

They took part in array of workshops and interactive sessions on European market trends, preparing for trade shows and stand etiquette, improving tour products and sustainability practices, identifying your target market and niches, defining your USP, doing B2B meetings with European buyers and much more. There was also plenty of opportunity to benefit from one-on-one sessions with various IPD and CBI tourism experts.

All in all unusual circumstances resulted in a fabulous learning opportunity and networking. The show must go on, keep calm and keep travelling responsibly!


Tourism declares a climate emergency

Yup Earthling, you are crew too and need to take some action asap, especially if you live in a developed country in Europe or elsewhere! Even though I am only a one woman responsible tourism band I can make a difference by making certain travel & lifestyle choices and by joining the Tourism Declares Network which:

  • is a collective of travel companies, organisations and industry professionals who believe tourism should declare a climate emergency.
  • who acknowledge the science stating we have one decade to address the climate crisis.
  • and who accept we have a responsibility to tell the truth, act now, and work together to help turn it around.

We don’t always like to hear it but the simple fact is we need to fly less and travel better when we do, creating as many positive impacts in the destinations we love to visit. I work with a lot of long haul destinations in Africa who need us to keep on visiting and we already know we can make responsible tourism choices when we put our trips together to these amazing places. Your holiday can make a difference.

Let’s also get real and admit that flying generally is highly overrated and overland travel is much more fun! We don’t need to do all that city hopping and can certainly do a lot more video conferencing and live streaming of events. We simply do not have a right to cheap flights when most of the world has never flown and probably never will. Carbon offsetting is pointless and, even worse, could be seen as eco-colonialism: compensating your ecological sins in countries where people have a minimal carbon footprint.

I will be honest that sometimes I am torn on how tackle this ugly beast as effectively as possible. Are we not terribly late to the party? What can little old me do? Being Dutch and living in a well-connected country I don’t own a car and never have, but train and bike everywhere (long live the OV fiets!). I have already stopped taking a lot of short haul flights in Europe and take the Eurostar to London and the ICE train to Berlin for example. I am excited about night trains coming back into fashion. I am also keeping my eye on fabulous developments such as the Fair Ferry and sail cargo. So many people and initiatives walking the talk and coming up with great solutions to this carbon dilemma. Let’s get cracking people!

So I declare a Climate Emergency and commit to the following five actions:

1. Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’

2. Share your commitment and progress publicly

3. Cut carbon emissions

4. Work together

5. Advocate for change

My Climate Emergency Plan for 2020:

  • take train instead of plane for journeys under 1000 km within Europe (i.e. ITB Berlin, WTM London)
  • book flights through Fly Green
  • book direct flights for long haul journeys (i.e. WTM Africa in Cape Town)
  • extend work trips overseas with leisure time to maximise flight taken
  • increase use of search engine Ecosia
  • research options for an ethical bank account for Green Heart Tourism (i.e. Triodos, ASN)
  • renew webhosting service with Greenhost
  • reseach and renew Green Heart Tourism business cards with greener option
  • eat less meat, less dairy, eat more organic produce & grow own vegetables & herbs in garden
  • keep ‘planting sustainable tourism seeds’ at home and abroad through Green Heart Tourism consultancy & coaching as well as through social media (in some cases I may do this for free for organisation I believe in like Fair Trade Tourism or for a low rate to make it affordable for tourism SMMEs)


IPD helps European tour operators find sustainable tourism partners in Tunisia, Nepal and Ecuador

Europe is on the move. But tourism is booming on a global scale too. By 2030, it is estimated there will be 1.8 billion tourists every year. In the process, long-distance travel is becoming more and more popular. There is major touristic potential in emerging and developing countries.

A warm climate, a wealth of culture, natural diversity – often still intact – and impressive fauna all make these countries attractive destinations. But it is also important to protect these natural resources. This is why many travellers nowadays call for offers that are attuned to the nature, culture and society of the host country. They want travel that is environmentally friendly and socially sustainable.

Sustainable, responsible tourism is very much in demand, but it is hard to find reliable partners.

Tours to Ecuador, Tunisia, and Nepal

The IPD liaises selected tourism companies for the European tourist industry in the partner countries Ecuador, Tunisia and Nepal.

The local enterprises offer diverse products customised for the European market. In designing their offers, they give attention not only to sustainability, but also particularly to the needs of tourists from Europe. All providers have been carefully examined and have been trained on the requirements of the EU travel market.

Thanks to IPD’s brokerage, European tour operators can expand their portfolio of sustainable products and unusual destinations. In this way, they lower their costs for the selection and quality control of potential partners. At the same time, they make a substantial contribution to the responsible promotion of social and ecological developments in these countries.

Our partners’ travel offers are tailor-made and they are distinct from mass tourism. For example, they organise group tours and individual tours for families, singles, best agers, or travellers with disabilities.

  • Cultural or study tours focussing on the language, cities, cultural highlights of the country of destination, etc.
  • Adventure travel like desert expeditions, wildlife observation, etc.
  • Active / sporting travel such as hiking, trekking, diving, cycling, etc.
  • Health, wellness trips or culinary travel
  • Recreational trips such as sun and beach holiday
  • Special needs travel

In promoting sustainable tourism, the IPD supports its partner countries in developing their infrastructures, creating jobs, and increasing incomes. As a labour-intensive segment, the tourist sector makes an important contribution towards sustainable economic development.

Want to stay up to date as new destinations get added or are you looking for a great sustainable tourism business partner? Then sign up for the IPD newsletter

For further questions and meetings at ITB Berlin 2020 please email me: and check out the IPD Sustainable Tourism brochure.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Sustainable Travel Awards 2020

Jurylid zijn voor de Sustainable Travel Award, dat was een hele eer zo voor het eerst! Veel diversiteit aan inzendingen met verschillende aandachtspunten maar mijn tip blijft voor alle reisbedrijven: denk ver vooruit, anticipeer op hoe de sector zich gaat ontwikkelen (naar een model met veel meer eisen vanuit de bestemming en locals) en neem je personeel en klanten mee in je eigen duurzaamheidsreis (het is namelijk leuk!). Je bedrijf kan er alleen maar mooier van worden. Ben benieuwd wie er gaat winnen van de laatste 3 en hoop op nog veel meer creatieve and impactvolle inzendingen volgend jaar.

Dank ANVR! responsibletourism betterplacestoliveandvisit

Lees hier meer over de 3 genomineerden.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

IPD Tunisia sustainable tourism training


The IPD sustainable tourism market access program has been in and out of Tunisia several times this year to conduct various training sessions for tourism SMMEs and other tourism stakeholders. In November it was time for an introduction to sustainable tourism which still needs a lot of work in Tunisia.

Two workshops were hosted: one in the lesser visited southern part of Tunisia at Dar Ayed in Tamezret and one closer to Tunis region at Dar Zaghouan. The audience at the first workshop consisted mainly of small guesthouse owners from the Dahar region (many of which are still very new to hospitality and tourism as an industry but are possibly doing a lot more when it comes to responsible tourism practices than some of the big resort hotels on the coast) and the second group of attendees consisted mainly of DMCs and various government agencies and travel trade associations. This is where the real shift still needs to take place.

We touched on some of the sustainable tourism challenges Tunisia is facing like climate change & rising sea levels, lack of visibility of diversified tourism experiences and the frustrating and topical issue of plastic pollution & effective waste management. They all agreed Tunisia urgently needs to reposition itself as a responsible tourism destination (especially in times of flight shame when destinations closer to Europe have an advantage over long haul destinations) and start using tourism as a tool to make Tunisia a better place to live and visit. The proof will be in the pudding but the main thing is we have now hopefully planted the seeds of a better tourism in Tunisia.

‘People working in tourism are the gardeners of the living system. Our responsibility is to create the conditions to make places and people thrive.’  

If you would like to meet some of the Tunisian IPD companies at ITB Berlin in 2020 then please contact me via:


De comeback van Tunesië… en hoe verder?

De Nederlandse reissector benadrukt dat Tunesië echt van alles heeft: cultuur, natuur, lokale wijn, lekker eten, golf, wellness en natuurlijk prachtig weer en het strand. Rondreizen is echt de moeite waard en op zijn minst moet je even je resort uit voor wat leuke uitstapjes.

Bekijk de video

Voor meer achtergrond over de tour operator top en interviews met Frank Oostdam van de ANVR en de Nederlandse ambassadeur in Tunis click hier.