Our People: Niels van Hoek, Business Development Manager, Japanspecialist
Niels van Hoek
Niels van Hoek
Business Development Manager
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Our People: Niels van Hoek, Business Development Manager, Japanspecialist

Get to know what sets our people apart and how they put our values into action.

Japanspecialist Business Development Manager, Niels Van Hoek, explores how his passion for travel has driven his professional experience, the importance of collaboration and client connection, and what unites his favourite destinations.


Constant Connection

My regular working day usually involves lots of meetings both within the Japanspecialist team and across the wider business (IT, Finance, and leadership teams).

I enjoy keeping my feet firmly on the ground and am in constant connection with our customers (agents and travellers), striving to create memorable tours to Japan in the true JTB spirit of “Perfect Moments Always”.

The sense of true teamwork, creating something together and customer recognition is what makes this job so exciting for me.


Connecting My Passions with My Profession

Travelling and Japan have been the greatest passions throughout my life.

The sense of joy and excitement that comes with travelling, I have always wanted to connect that feeling (first felt when I travelled with my parents to Lake Garda in Italy when I was 5 or 6 years old) to my professional life.

The travel business is a fun business and being able to transfer that feeling of passion to my customers, to be able to create the perfect trip for them, is what has always given me great personal and professional satisfaction over the past twenty years.

It’s incredible how much the industry has changed over this period. Back in 2002, when I started my career in tourism, e-tickets and online booking systems still had to be invented and travelling to Japan was limited to the privileged few. Nowadays, we connect with so many people through digital channels like our Online Consultations… and so many different types of customers are now travelling to Japan, with almost solely digital travel documents.


Genuine Cooperation, The Feeling of Teamwork and Doing Things Together

What I like best about working at Kuoni Tumlare is the sense of genuine cooperation, the feeling of teamwork and doing things together.

Developing and launching new business projects is never a lonely endeavour at Kuoni Tumlare, you always feel you are just one chat message away from getting support, not only from your Japanspecialist teammates, but also from the many talented people in the IT, Finance, HR, and Leadership teams. Our business culture feels very natural for us but not all travel companies are able to create such a positive and productive business culture.

While I have always been somewhat of an individualist myself, in my six years at JTB/ Japanspecialist/Kuoni Tumlare, I have become a team player “against all odds” and enjoyed every step of the process.

Night market in Asia


Innovation is Essential for Connection, Improvement, and Reaching New Customers

With very limited business due to the travel ban on foreign travellers in Japan, innovation has been essential for Japanspecialist to stay connected with our clients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Japan Live video campaigns on Facebook, frequent newsletters, the creation of a new website with exciting new (post-Covid-19-proof) tours to Japan and the launch of a brand-new Online Consultations platform, have not only enabled us to stay in touch with suppliers and customers, but it has also generated new interest in Japan from new customer groups.


True Satisfaction Comes from Doing Things Together

My involvement in the creation of our new japanspecialist.com website and the launch of our Virtual Travel Agency (Online Consultations) have made me proud. However, what gave me even more satisfaction is the fact that we have been able to pull it off together, thanks to a wonderful group of people in the Japanspecialist Team and beyond, who inspire and motivate me every day.


Japan, Taiwan, and Italy

I have three different favourite destinations: Japan, Taiwan, and Italy. While these countries are very different in some ways, there is also a lot that binds them together in my mind: proud, welcoming, and lovely people, wonderful nature and landscapes, awesome cities, a rich history and cultural heritage, and many culinary delights!

During the two dark Covid years, I frequently dreamed about roaming the night markets in Taipei, exploring the historical villages of Tuscany and Umbria, shopping and dining out in Osaka…. and walking through the bamboo Forest in ancient Kyoto.


Find out more about Niels’ work or book a virtual consultation here.