My love of travel started as a teenager when I spent a year in Denmark on student exchange. Since I got back, I knew I wanted to work in travel and so after finishing my studies at Uni, that’s exactly what I did. I have now been in the industry for about nine years.
What do you like most about your job?
The opportunity to promote European train travel in Australia! Many Australian’s just don’t understand how good it is over there because they look at what we have here. There is no comparison!
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
It would be my current role. Making the move from working at one of our GSA’s to managing our Australasian business as part of the world’s largest rail distributor has been a pretty big achievement for me.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Take every opportunity life offers you. My Mum told me that many years ago and it is absolutely the best advice I’ve ever received.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the travel and tourism industry?
Sir Richard Branson – he has done amazing things for travel over the years and they just keep on coming. I mean, building a spaceship for tourism! That’s awesome. Now all we need is for him to build a train that travels under the world’s oceans between continents, but I could be dreaming there.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Rail Europe is providing constant innovation in the rail sector for our GSAs and in turn, their agents. As the world’s largest rail distributor, we have established solid relationships with all of the European rail carriers and that allows us to provide access to the best possible range of products for our GSAs to sell. After adding recent connections to trains in Italy, Spain & the UK, agents can look forward to seeing more direct connections in the future. Ultimately, this means more e-tickets and cheaper fares for their clients.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Russia is the big one for me and has been for a long time now. I need to get that one ticked off and of course it has to be on the Trans-Siberian!
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland after chasing them for three nights. We finally saw them after getting ourselves stuck on a deserted road during a snow storm. All of a sudden the sky cleared, we looked up and there they were. Amazing!
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Sunscreen (a daily necessity for every red-head), my new noise-cancelling headphones for the flight and my e-reader.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
They’re probably not really that famous but the team from Pilot Guides could take me anywhere in the world. My all-time favourite travel show. There will never be another that beats it.
What direction do you see the industry heading in, in the next five to ten years?
The FIT sector will continue to grow. Australian travellers are no longer making those trips to Europe a once in a lifetime thing. Many are travelling every year and as their confidence grows, so does their independence. So I believe the need for specialist agents is only going to increase. People want an expert who can help them plan their perfect itinerary, the way they want to do it.
Ingrid Kocijan, Manager Australasia, Rail Europe