Have Pas­sion, Will Travel

The land­scape of travel is chang­ing says Mr. Ni­cholas Lim of The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion, and en­sures us that, through their ef­forts, we won’t miss a thing

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - By An­ton D. Javier

There is a story that Mr. Ni­cholas Lim, Manag­ing Direc­tor, The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion Asia (TTC), never tires of telling, which gives peo­ple an idea of how his love af­fair with travel started. It was when he was about 3 or 4 years old when he re­al­ized that that the travel bug hit him, due to reg­u­lar trips to Malaysia to visit his fa­ther who was based there for work. “My mum would take me to visit him of­ten, so we’d go to Paya Le­bar air­port and catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur. At that age, every­one treats you well — from the air­port staff to the flight at­ten­dants — and you get to reg­u­larly ride on an air­plane. It’s def­i­nitely an ex­pe­ri­ence you never for­get as a child,” re­calls Mr. Lim. “And when I was 12, an op­por­tu­nity came at this 5-star ho­tel along Or­chard Road where kids would open the ho­tel doors dur­ing Christ­mas. There I was, don­ning my Santa hat, open­ing doors and greet­ing peo­ple. It’s a mem­ory that I look back at fondly and you could say it was my first in­tro­duc­tion to the tourism trade.” To­day, Mr. Lim is re­spon­si­ble for a vi­brant port­fo­lio of travel and leisure com­pa­nies un­der TTC, which in­clude house­hold names like Trafal­gar, Con­tiki Tours, In­sight Va­ca­tions, Lux­ury Gold, and the Uni­world Bou­tique River Cruise Col­lec­tion, among oth­ers. The role sees him trav­el­ing more than two weeks at a time, but he ad­mits that while tir­ing, there’s noth­ing quite like it. “I was in In­dia re­cently,” he tells me, “and I’ve been on the road for the past three weeks. It was pretty non-stop.” De­spite his hec­tic sched­ule, Mr. Lim re­mains fresh-faced, with nary a sign of fa­tigue, talk­ing pas­sion­ately about what’s next for the com­pany, with per­haps the same en­thu­si­asm he had 18 years ago when he first joined TTC. You can im­me­di­ately tell that Mr. Lim is the type of per­son who won’t say no to an ad­ven­ture. “Since I was a lit­tle boy, I’m al­ways the first one to stick my hand out and ask, ‘What’s next?’ To this day, I still do that. When my bosses said, ‘Nick, we need some­one to go open up an of­fice in In­dia,’ I stuck my hand out and said, ‘Let’s go.’ I hon­estly had no idea about the mar­ket, but it’s that sense of see­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing new that ex­cited me.”

How to Travel Right

At TTC, Mr. Lim re­veals that what he ul­ti­mately wants to achieve is re-en­gi­neer how travel is com­mu­ni­cated; to al­low the pub­lic to un­der­stand what a good travel ex­pe­ri­ence is all about. “At travel fairs and ex­pos, I look around and it drives me up the wall to see travel agents sell­ing a travel pack­age for $800, while the one next to them will be sell­ing the same one for $700. It’s like a race to the bot­tom. In re­al­ity, there is never a 1-star price for a 5-star ex­pe­ri­ence. So it just doesn’t con­nect for me and travel is not sup­posed to be like that. If you stud­ied travel or are in the in­dus­try, you know that peo­ple put in a lot of hard work be­hind what they do. With this kind of ap­proach, it re­ally com­pro­mises the qual­ity of the travel ex­pe­ri­ence,” he laments. “Trav­el­ing the right way is the way to go,” he ex­claims. “In­stead of talk­ing about price, let’s talk about what you want to get out of your travel ex­pe­ri­ence. This is some­thing we need to ed­u­cate con­sumers on.” He con­tin­ues, “If you look at it in a dif­fer­ent way and take for ex­am­ple the best sell­ing car brands in Sin­ga­pore, you’ll get an idea of the chang­ing mind­set of con­sumers. In­stead of opt­ing for util­i­tar­ian mod­els that sim­ply get you from point A to point B, more peo­ple are buy­ing lux­ury car brands like Mercedes-Benz or BMW be­cause of the as­pi­ra­tions, the qual­ity ser­vice, and the ex­pe­ri­ence that comes along with it. That’s where I think the Sin­ga­porean be­hav­ior has evolved. This is some­thing we’ve seen in the take up for our pre­mium prod­ucts like Lux­ury Gold and Uni­world.”

by AN­TON D. JAVIER Art Di­rec­tion by DEN­NIS V.C. CHONG Pho­tog­ra­phy by CHINO SARDEA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.