WTM London and Virtual 2021

Team IPD finally got to go to an actual travel trade event. Gosh, it’s been a while but so much better than Zoom. Tourism is a people business. B2B networking and matchmaking for our partner companies from Tunisia, Ecuador, Nepal and Uzbekistan was the focus for the tourism experts and we did our best to meet as many specialist tour operators from Europe as we could on our stand in London. Our partner companies did not travel with us this time due to red lists etc. but did attend during the virtual event. Plenty of new contacts made all in all, now we all just need the world to get a proper grip on the pandemic. Next stop ITB Berlin 2022 with partner companies exhibiting!

For an overview of the IPD companies and how we work with tour operators in Europe please check our website. Check the country factsheets, they are new and very useful for product managers from Europe that are working on new destinations and tours.


Sustainable Tourism Certification for The Bahamas

Green Case Consulting

Delighted to be contributing to a new project in The Bahamas together with Green Case Consulting

‘The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is assisting the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and Ministry of Tourism and Aviation to develop certifications systems that will be used to strengthen The Bahamas tourism product, according to a statement on the partnership.

The statement explained that the effort began last month and is expected to be completed January 2022.

According to the statement, the partnership includes retaining the expertise of myriad groups and individuals both local and international, and developing a system that will be used universally across The Bahamas to ensure the country’s purveyors of tourism goods and services operate at the highest levels.

“The aim of the project is to increase the resiliency and sustainability of The Bahamas as a tourism destination; enhance the state of the natural environment; improve destination competitiveness; ensure that revenue from tourism reaches a greater proportion of Bahamian communities and position The Bahamas as a climate-resilient destination by implementing climate risk management policies and implementation frameworks,” the statement read.

“Through the technical support of the entities, a consortium of experts from Europe and the Caribbean are analyzing, recommending and developing an implementation program for certification systems.”

After the January completion of the project, the most suitable certification schemes will be presented, and implementation plans will be developed through consultation with Bahamian stakeholders.’

More details here.


Georgia Tourism Cluster Project

End of July and beginning of August broke an 18 month period of no travel outside of the EU to start work as Marketing & Digitalisation Expert on my first tourism cluster project (through GIZ & EU Cluster4Development) in the Imereti and Kakheti regions in beautiful Georgia. The tourism cluster members will consist of food & wine producers, arts & craft makers and concept accommodation providers offering an authentic Georgian experience. Lots of work to be done but looking forward to bringing the entrepeneurs together, find what connects them all and improve their ability to take their tourism product to market. Updates to follow.

Mentoring tourism mentors in The Philippines

Go Negosyo and PUM Netherlands proudly presented the 36 mentor-graduates of the Mentoring The Mentors in the Tourism Industry program last May 3, 2021, via Zoom.

The mentors had to go through 10 Inbound Tourism Restart modules focused in 6 weeks, headed by PUM Senior Tourism Expert Emilie Hagedoorn. Hagedoorn also shared other thoughts and tips in Tourism Restart.

Go Negosyo MSME Development Senior Adviser opened the program by welcoming all guests and thanking PUM Netherlands through Maria, Emilie, and Dante for having a timely intervention to Philippine Tourism and,of course, to all the mentors for making it to graduation. Moreover, Engr. Cruz then turned over the ‘Tourism Restart Philippines Concept Note’ to the Office of Ambassador of The Netherlands to the Philippines and Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) for the continuation of the program.

We were also lucky to have two special guests to congratulate the graduate mentors and grace the event–Ambassador Saskia de Lang and DOT USec. Roberto Alabado III.

Ambassador of The Netherlands to the Philippines, Saskia de Lang, emphasized the importance of restarting and sustaining responsible tourism, agriculture, and waste management. With the program, Ambassador de Lang also assured the mentor-graduates that this will have a long-lasting impact on reviving the business, on promoting the local tourism industry, and on economic growth.

Then, DOT USec. Alabado III discussed ways on how our mentors can relate or continue what they have learned to continuously apply it not just to their mentees but to their community. Be smarter entrepreneurs despite the crisis.

On behalf of all the mentors, four mentors shared their experiences, knowledge gain, and gratitude to their Mentor Emilie for teaching and guiding towards tourism restart, PUM Netherlands, and Go Negosyo.

Lastly, Philippine Country Coordinator of PUM Netherlands Maria de Guia closed the program by extending its warm gratitude to its partner organization, Go Negosyo, for having a program like MTM and that both organizations have a common mission on sharing knowledge to help, develop and strengthen our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

The program was hosted by Ms. Joby Linsangan-Moreno, Owner of Orange Blush Salons and Go Negosyo Mentor.

Mabuhay our dear mentor-graduates!

MTMTourism #PilipinasAngatLahat #PUM


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. Also check this recent article by Tourwriter.

In the meantime check this overview of OTAs for inbound tour operators/DMCs (with more and more having a focus on sustainable tourism):

B2C distribution channels with a sustainable tourism focus

Better Places



Much Better Adventures

Not In The Guidebooks

Positive Travel

Responsible Travel

Clean Travel

Not In The Guidebooks

Fair Voyage

Go Barefoot

Yügen Earthside

Clean Travel

Travel Local





Painted Circle

Regular B2C

Stride Travel




Adventure Junky


Trip Connexion

Designer Journeys

Do It

We Travel

Insight Guides



Indy Guide


Safari / Africa focus



Your African Safari

Gallivant Africa

Kumba Africa

Safari Deal





CBT tour and activity distribution channels

Airbnb Experiences

GetYourGuide – Supplier Administration | GetYourGuide for Suppliers

ToursByLocals – www.toursbylocals.com/guide_join

TripAdvisor Experiences – https://supplier.viator.com/sign-up-info

I like Local – www.i-likelocal.com

Lokal Travel – www.lokaltravel.com/add-tours-lodging-lokal

Keteka – www.keteka.com/for-operators/

B2B distribution channels and networking

Local Booking


Buzz Travel

Winding Tree

Also check this great article on multiday tour list options from Arival.

Please note: 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 : hagedoorn@importpromotiondesk.de


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)