20 years of “Blazing new paths in Travel”

The CEO Story: Asian Trails celebrates 20 years

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20 years of “Blazing new paths in Travel”

September 2019 is a special month for Asian Trails. On 9th September we celebrated our 20th anniversary, marking the auspicious date of 9.9.99 (9th September 1999) when Asian Trails was “born”. We are proud to say we have been “Blazing New Paths in Travel” since that day, and will continue doing so in the years ahead.

It is hard to believe how our world and the travel industry have transformed in the past two decades. The advent of technology and the Internet changed everything, but not our core values and our DNA.

We have created many wonderful tours and excursions, which many today call “experiences”, to the far-flung and hidden corners of Asia. This is borne out of our passion for travel, which is as strong today as it was 20 years ago. We love to discover, to explore, to find the little extra that makes a journey more than just the destination into a rewarding and memorable trip.

We are all about people. Connecting with our friends at hotels, transport companies, boats, restaurants as well as thousands of other suppliers, have made a real difference in what we have to offer our clients.

Our guides are an integral part of our operations, and as the ultimate “calling card” of Asian Trails they can make or break a journey. I can’t thank them enough for their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism.

I still see myself as bridging people, as my love and understanding of Asia help me in putting the right people together to achieve amazing results. It is not just about monetary returns – this must be a given or we wouldn’t be here today – but it’s also about the trust, respect and understanding that my team and I have cultivated in our organisation and in all who interact with Asian Trails.

Other qualities we hold high: Respect for people, culture, diversity, and nature. Trust that we do what we say. Understanding that everyone is different and so are the travel needs.

Many Asian countries have developed their infrastructure at lightning speed with no sign of stopping. High-speed trains have become the common mode of transport while railway stations resemble international airports, and eight-lane highways are now standard in connecting towns and cities.

All these developments have led to Asia being confronted with environmental and social issues today, as well as over tourism that is happening in many parts in the world.

However, take a few steps back from the mainstream of life and you will find a world waiting to be discovered. An Asia where history abounds, where lush green rice fields bathe in bright sunshine, where village life has remained unchanged and where food is still cooked in the same traditional way for generations.

Even in the large Asian cities you will find a unique lifestyle just a couple of streets away from the main boulevards. It is these corners of Asia that we love to show our visitors.

The 20 years of Asian TraiIs showing the best of what Asia has to offer could not have been possible without the engagement, passion, and perseverance of our teams. Of the almost 700 staff, 10 % have been with us since the very beginning and more than 50% for over five years. My biggest and heartfelt thanks to all of you for making Asian Trails part of your life, for your tireless efforts and long hours in organising all the special moments that make the journey so memorable for our clients. I am very proud of you!

To all our tour operator, travel agents, travel advisors, OTAs and friends who have supported us for the past two decades, a very special thank you. You trusted us right from day one, you evolved with us through the years, you helped us become who we are today, you stayed with us through the good times as well as through difficult days, and for all these I will be eternally grateful.

When I left Asian Trails for a one-year sabbatical in 2012 to embark on adventure travel and do some reflections I knew then I wanted nothing more than to return to my company and my colleagues, to be with the people I respect and cherish and to continue “Blazing New Paths in Travel.” This is what I will do for many more years to come.

Thank you all for being part of our history and of our future.

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