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Behind the scenes at WYSE Travel Confederation

Aug 30, 2018

WYSE Travel Confederation is staffed by a small, international team of 20 people based in Amsterdam. The team serves a global membership community of more than 600 businesses through a variety of business-to-business development initiatives, including the organisation of several international trade conferences each year. Some of the WYSE Travel Confederation staff are familiar faces at travel industry events, but some are perhaps lesser known to you. With more than 600 delegates coming to the most important annual conference for all aspects of youth travel in just a few weeks, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves to you ahead of time in a fun and light-hearted manner.

Jake Bergquist, Business Development Manager

Jake is your go-to guy when you’re ready to take advantage of WYSE membership or elevate your brand at an upcoming industry event. He is fond of mountains, camping and sports, but you won’t catch him doing this one outdoor activity in Amsterdam. 

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Where are you from? Wellington, New Zealand

Which languages do you speak? English

Favourite food: Dumplings

Fried or steamed? Pan fried – not the same as fried.

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

City, beach, mountains or something else? Mountains

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Camping

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV The importance of events in travel decisions has increased, providing an opportunity for operators to develop products or align marketing to capture new business.

Favourite band or musical artist: talkSPORT

You’re too afraid to…swim in the Amsterdam canals.

Favourite sports team: All Blacks #1, Tottenham Hotspur #2

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? Watching new partnerships develop between members.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? Seeing the different ways that operators incorporate sustainable policies and actions into what they offer.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? Can’t beat a canal cruise – self drive, tour group, cleaning the canals with butterfly nets, stories told by immigrants turned volunteers, burger and beer… there are so many different ones.

How happy does travel make you? 10

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? A firefighter.

Why a firefighter? I used to volunteer in New Zealand.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? EdinBRO

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Haggis

Are you sure? YES (it is like a big dumpling, kind of)

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards? Don’t go ALL traditional.

Agnès Maignien, Marketing Manager

Agnès has lived in Thailand and even eaten insects before, but this is her preferred cookie bakery in Amsterdam.

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Where are you from? France

Which languages do you speak? French, English, Spanish, German, and Franglish

Favourite food Italian!

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet Mexico

Would you eat the chapulines? Chapulines? Arggg… I ate insects before and it was too crunchy (lol) – not my French taste.

City, beach, mountains or something else? Beach for sure.

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Airbnb

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV That traveller happiness increased with trips longer than 60 days – I realised that actually happened to me when I was living in Thailand.

How long did you live in Thailand? I lived in Thailand for three months, in Bangkok and had the chance to travel around. I was also there for their New Year festival (Songkran) and loved it!

Favourite band or musical artist Brigitte

Do you have a power song? Waka Waka by Shakira

You’re too afraid to… Bungee jumping… I can’t.

Favourite sports team French football team, we are the champions!

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? WYSE is a highly cosmopolitan organisation; all colleagues are coming from a different part of the world.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? What organisations are really doing in terms of sustainability and the impact we all have on the planet. Something needs to change!

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? The Begijnhof with a detour to the van Stapele Koekmakerij.

How happy does travel make you? 8

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? I would work in a flower shop. People always come with good intentions.

Do you have a favourite flower? Peonies.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Edinbourg

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Exchange and meeting new people from all over the world.

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards? Please don’t wear a kilt again.

Wendy Morrill, Research and Education Manager

Wendy observes and contemplates intensely. After three year’s of observing the Global Youth Travel Awards, she has some advice for David Chapman this year.

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Where are you from? Concord, New Hampshire USA…and no, New Hampshire is not the ‘upside down one’ – that’s Vermont.

Which languages do you speak? English, Dutch and the inevitable ‘Neder-Engels’

Favourite food: Cookies

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Tokyo, Japan

City, beach, mountains or something else? City

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Hotel, tea kettle in the room, please.

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV: Hitchhiking has been reincarnated via BlaBlaCar.

Favourite band or musical artist: The Cure and Depeche Mode, but I love almost anything from the 80s.

Do you have a power song? Anything by badass lady rockers of the late 70s and early 80s: Barracuda by Heart, I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett, Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar.

You’re too afraid to…get behind the wheel in Amsterdam.

Favourite sports team: Being from New England, I’m required to say the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins are the top.

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? There is always something to learn because our members are always up to new things. They’re working at the intersection of two boundary-pushing forces: youth and travel – that’s a cool space!

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? I’m a music fan, so I like seeing music at the centre of initiatives like themed tourism trails or highlighting little-known destinations or cultural assets related to music. It’s not only about the music, but the stories around it. Music is an important signifier for subcultures, so there are interesting stories to discover.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? It used to be Wijnand Fockink, which is a jenever tasting room, but now I prefer a less crowded place called proeflokaal ‘t Kelkje. If you don’t like booze, then there is Ons Lieve Heer op Solder or “Our Lord in the Attic” Museum – it’s an unassuming canal house with, oh, just a full-on church in the attic – it never lets me down.

How happy does travel make you? 8

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? If we’re talking outside of travel, bagel baker – there are never enough everything bagels! Within travel, then it would be Holger Wilke. I’d like to try walking in his shoes coordinating the buildup of ITB Berlin – only for one week though!

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? ED-in-burr-OAH

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? All I want is Tunnock’s.

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards? Nick Pound is always dressed to the nines, so my recommendation to David is glitter.

Jana Kolesnikova, Buyer Programme Manager

Hot lakes and monkeys are on her bucket list, as is a good caffeine fix in Edinburgh, but Jana is wondering how this one particular issue of the study abroad sector will evolve.

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Where are you from? Latvia

Which languages do you speak? Russian, Latvian, English, a bit of Ukrainian, and a bit of Dutch.

Favourite food: Shashlik

Is that vegetarian? Shashlik is the most non-vegetarian meal out there!

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Japan

City, beach, mountains or something else? Non-urban Japan, especially that place with hot lakes and monkeys.

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Hotel – I’m a flashpacker.

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV: A trip to Japan will make me happy, but only as long as I stay there for at least a month.

Favourite band or musical artist: The War on Drugs

You’re too afraid to…ever get bored of what I am doing.

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation?

Work-life balance, opportunity to follow WYSTC to different destinations each year, international team, and the location of the office.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now?

The study abroad sector – I am wondering to which extent technology can replace agents in the tertiary education application context.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family?

I actually prefer to take them out of Amsterdam to show the non-Amsterdam aspects of The Netherlands (national parks and historic villages).

How happy does travel make you? 9

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? Musical theatre artist.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? EDINBURG

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Exploring new and quirky places to get my morning caffeine fix in the old town.

How do you take your coffee? Sweet latte, ideally with hazelnut syrup.

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards?

Last year’s will be hard to top.

Laura Sanna, Marketing Coordinator

Hailing from Sardinia, Laura shares her opinion on glamping and offers some advice about her favourite nuts – and no, she’s not talking about her colleagues.

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Where are you from? Sardinia, Italy

Which languages do you speak? Italian, French, German, and very basic Dutch.

Favourite food: Pistachio

Ice cream too? Only if it’s not green, that one has artificial colour inside!

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Japan

City, beach, mountains or something else? The beach after a hike.

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Airbnb

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV The term and whole concept of ‘glamping’.

Do you think it’s a good concept? It’s an interesting concept, but I have mixed feelings about it. Being able to sleep comfortably in remote locations where traditional accommodation can’t take you sounds great, and I would experience it. Looking at some glampers social media posts though, one would wonder if it’s really necessary to have vintage furniture, oriental rugs and all the like to experience the great outdoors. Very instagrammable for sure. 

Favourite band or musical artist: Pearl Jam

Do you have a power song? State of Love and Trust by Pearl Jam

Favourite sports team: Cagliari football team

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? Working with an amazing international team.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? The growth of digital nomadism.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? I like to bring friends to Wynand Fockink for a taste of jenever, our favourite bartender always lets us try countless flavours 🙂

How happy does travel make you? 9

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? Probably a baker

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? /ˈɛdɪnbərə/

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Scones!

Emelie Ousbäck, Graphic Designer

Emelie can get any design job done when listening to this song, but even then she won’t be convinced to go to this one place.

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Where are you from? Sweden

Which languages do you speak? Swedish, English, and a little bit of French and Dutch.

Favourite food: A perfectly prepared wonton soup in Hong Kong or a really fragrant Indian curry.

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet I’ve always wanted to travel down the Amazon River!

City, beach, mountains or something else? I’m all about the northern forests!

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Definitely a nice Airbnb. I love to be able to cook or have breakfast in your own apartment while travelling.

Favourite band or musical artist: Too many to mention! Music I like ranges from Glenn Mills and Coltrane to Nine Inch Nails.

Do you have a power song? The main theme song from Armageddon. It has helped me to work up the courage for a lot of things!

You’re too afraid to…ever become an astronaut. The thought of going into space is terrifying.

Favourite sports team: It’s gonna have to be the Swedish hockey team.

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? My co-workers.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now?

Digital nomadism.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family?

Taking them for great food and drinks! Strolling around in the Pijp and Jordaan, having beers at Brouwerij ‘t IJ, brunch at Dignita, and lunch or dinner at D&A Hummus Bistro.

How happy does travel make you? 10

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? I’d love to work at an animal sanctuary.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Edinburr

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Whiskey

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards?

When in doubt, go for sequins!

Laura Cutrona, Graphic Design Intern

Our pizza-loving Graphic Design Intern Laura believes social media is key for young travellers.

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Where are you from? Italy

Which languages do you speak? Italian (my first language) and English (a little bit)

Favourite food: Pizza

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Africa

City, beach, mountains or something else? California

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Ostello Bello in Milan, if I remember well.

Favourite band or musical artist: Miike Snow

You’re too afraid to…disappoint some people.

Favourite sports: Volleyball

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? The connection with the reality.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now?

I remember the need to meet new people at the beginning. I was looking for some applications for devices as mobile phones that can connect people together. If I can make an example, it could be “meetup”. I think these kind of apps can help people who want to live abroad or who are just on holiday as well, offering some interesting and new activities.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? Sail!

How happy does travel make you? 9

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? An illustrator or a chef.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Edinburg

David Chapman, Director General

David Chapman speaks these three languages and likes any food that is spicy, but what’s his power song?

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Where are you from? UK, grew up in Wales.

Which languages do you speak? English, American and Canadian.

Favourite food: Anything spicy.

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Too many to list, but South America is up there.

City, beach, mountains or something else? Any of the above, but cannot be boring or too quiet.

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Comfortable, with character.

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV? That Wendy is amazing.

Favourite band or musical artist: Depends on my mood, often Lisa Stansfield.

Do you have a power song? Love Can, by Lisa Stansfield

You’re too afraid to…tombstone.

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? The community.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now?

The opening up of new regions and the ingenuity of people to develop new products in times of adversity.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family?

Not always my favourite, but often the visitor favourite is to do the canal boat tour. Otherwise, some good paling and a beer! Eel always makes people squeamish until they try it! Also, haring is delicious!

How happy does travel make you? 10, when I’m not travelling for work!

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? An A380 pilot.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Properly.

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Good food and good friends.

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards?

I must remember to buy new boxers.

Helen George, Senior Events Manager

If she weren’t Senior Events Manager at WYSE Travel Confederation, this Metallica fan would be a police officer.

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Where are you from? United Kingdom

Which languages do you speak? English and Dutch

Favourite food: Italian

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Cuba

City, beach, mountains or something else? City

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Airbnb

Favourite band or musical artist: Metallica

You’re too afraid to…jump out of a plane.

Favourite sports team: Liverpool FC

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? Definitely a trip on the canals. Doesn’t matter how many times you do it, you always see something new. Otherwise, Brouwerij ‘t IJ for some local brew.

How happy does travel make you? 8

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? I would work for the police.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? The correct way.

Sabbas Lukumbuzya, Buyer Programme Assistant

Sabbas is a Liverpool FC fan and recommends this typical Tanzanian dish. He believes youth have a strong potential for innovation in tourism for Africa.

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Where are you from? Tanzania

Which languages do you speak? English and Swahili

Favourite food: Ugali (cornmeal) served with beef stew and spinach (typical Tanzanian dish).

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Caribbean

City, beach, mountains or something else? A good mix of all three of the above, mostly mountains and beach than city.

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Preferably the last two depending on quality.

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV:

The younger generation inspire the next generation of travel and trends that value affordable access in pre-travel processing such as destination and package selection (easier, faster, more options, seamless, visual aesthetic) hence an increasing move in online travel booking trends and OTAs.

Travel products are becoming a lot more differentiated even across these competitive distribution platforms as the youth tend to spend more depending on the attractiveness of the destination and activities available that will provide the best experience.

Favourite band or musical artist: Bob Marley

Do you have a power song? Opening credits Pilot Talk 3 by Currensy & Zimbabwe by Bob Marley

You’re too afraid to…get too close to people, emotionally.

Favourite sports team: Liverpool FC

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? The intricately small size of the office (in terms of people) & the community

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now?

Connectivity of infrastructure for tourism development in Africa for inter and intra-trade (air connectivity, rails). Creation of tourism innovation among youth in Africa through multifaceted contexts in fashion, technology, culture, food, environment and youth urbanism representing a modern interpretation of Africa through African cities.Blending more colours to Africa’s vibrant tourism beyond the stereotypical bush safaris and sandy beaches. Diversification and innovation is of huge interest.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family?

Unguided city walks, eating out at restaurants, shopping and maybe boat cruises. It’s really on the dynamic of the family visiting.

How happy does travel make you? 10

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Edinbruh!

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Hospitableness served with the finest Scotch.

Kristina Shieh, Membership Services Administrator

Kristina helps members take advantage of their membership benefits. Her favourite food has five pairs of legs and includes the word cake – can you guess which state in the USA she’s from?

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Where are you from? United States

Which languages do you speak? English and a little bit of Dutch.

Favourite food: Maryland crabs/crabcakes 🙂

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Africa

City, beach, mountains or something else? Beach and mountains

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Airbnb and hotels

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV? The difference between generation Z and millennials, specifically their motivations for travel. I also found the funding sources of millennial travel to be very interesting, and the percentage of travellers receiving their budget from family.

Favourite band or musical artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers

You’re too afraid to…scuba dive, even though I would love to.

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? The team.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? Digital nomads and the use of social media.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? Cycling around and boating the canals.

How happy does travel make you? 9

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? Not sure.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Ed-in-bruh (with a bit of a mumbling so nobody can actually hear that I am saying).

Nicola Baker, Head of Finance

Nicola is too afraid to sky dive, but you might find her eating this delicacy in a private Airbnb villa.

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Where are you from? England

Which languages do you speak? English and a very little Dutch and French.

Favourite food: Peanut butter

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: New Zealand

City, beach, mountains or something else? A bit of everything.

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Airbnb, private villa.

Favourite band or musical artist: Prince

Do you have a power song? Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

You’re too afraid to…sky dive.

Favourite sports team: Tottenham Hotspur FC – the home of football!

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? My colleagues, especially Gail!

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? Ones that will make us money.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? A glass of liqueur or jenever at Wynand Fockink.

How happy does travel make you? 10

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? Adele – I would love to be able to sing like her!

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? How it should be!

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? My road trip with Jen!

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards? It could be cold.

Laura Daly, Deputy Director

Anything goes when it comes to travel accommodation for this aspiring panda nanny.

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Where are you from? UK/Ireland – grew up in The Netherlands.

Which languages do you speak? Dutch and English

Favourite food: Kelewele

Destination you’d love to visit, but haven’t yet: Sri Lanka

City, beach, mountains or something else? Mountains

Hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or somewhere else? Anything goes

One thing you learned from New Horizons IV? The blurring of work, life and travel.

Favourite band or musical artist: Too many

Do you have a power song? Yes 😉

You’re too afraid to…eat a whole raw jalapeño.

Favourite sports team: My hockey team.

What’s the best thing about WYSE Travel Confederation? Without a doubt, the members.

What issue, trend, technology, or development is most interesting in tourism right now? The combination of booking technology and the sharing economy.

Favourite thing to do or place in Amsterdam to bring visiting friends and family? A cycle through the park, on to Museumplein and through the Rijks, then on for lunch on Noordermarkt. Perhaps a stroll around the 9 straatjes and maybe on to the EYE for a pre-dinner drink. Dinner somewhere in the Jordaan and if there’s still energy left, catch a gig in the Paradiso.

How happy does travel make you? 8

If you could swap jobs with anyone for one week, who or what would that be? Panda nanny.

How do you pronounce Edinburgh? Properly.

What are you looking forward to while in Scotland? Saturday (and seeing everyone).

Any advice for David Chapman as he prepares his outfit for the Global Youth Travel Awards? Understated is cool.