NHTV Master in Tourism Destination Management alumnus, Laura van Meer

Laura van Meer

My name is Laura van Meer and I finished TDM by the end of 2010. I have been working for over a year now and would not have thought to enjoy it so much after some great student years. I always wondered where this master would take me professionally and what extra value it would bring. Now that I have found a job, I know that this master was the experience I needed to get there. My job is titled as ‘destination specialist’, which means that I advise clients on specific destinations they would like to travel to. All Over Tours, the tour operator where I’m employed, specializes in exclusive, tailor made travels to East and South Africa and the Pacific, which also include destinations I visited during the field research of TDM. It’s a small company, which means I get big responsibilities and therefore build great experience. The best part about the job is to get to know the destinations, study them, create routes and most of all of course; visit them! I’m going to South Africa in two weeks to experience the accommodations and environment that clients would be in on their travels, in order to sell the destinations more successfully (no need to disagree!). Next to this I learned and practiced many skills, such as being helpful to people (top priority), commercial thinking (financial aspect), advising clients face to face in their itinerary, thinking ‘out of the box’ and creatively organizing travels, etcetera. Subjects during TDM are very relevant in my day to day work, such as marketing, finance, management, but also sustainable tourism. We work with many lodges that pay attention to this matter  and think of tourism in the long run, also we only work with small scale accommodations and private game reserves that limit damage to the environment and pay back to the community. The thing that attracts me the most in my job is the variety, not one day is the same as all travels are tailor made and I handle the process from beginning to end, from the itinerary request and the correspondence with agents up until the invoices and preparing the clients’ travel documents in detail. My bachelor would not have been sufficient to apply for this job and I am grateful that I chose to follow this master, as it has opened doors to great opportunities.

Next to my job I am also active in the city marketing area, as I wrote my thesis on this subject and it still interests me very much. I got a request from my thesis coach to present at the International Place Branding conference, and my answer was of course “yes!”. I have written an academic article that summarizes my thesis and am about to present this coming Saturday at the conference, all very exciting!  Especially as many people from the city marketing field will be present. The articles for the blog written during TDM have definitely added to my experience in taking on this great opportunity.

Tourism is a great sector to work in and I wish you all the best of luck in finding your passion!