The annual Dutch travel event Vakantiebeurs opened to the public today. As a trade visitor, I had the chance to visit the event a day early. I returned home inspired and with a head full of new ideas.
This event could not take place at a more perfect time of the year. With the holidays behind us, people are starting to plan ahead and those of us who don’t ski have begun to plan their summer holidays. The days are still short, the weather is still dreadful, but the Vakantiebeurs is colourful and bright. The summer vibe is amplified by a new initiative: the experience hall. The boring desks filled with thick brochures have been replaced by white sand, colourful hammocks and food trucks.
The sight of familiar destinations will always spark a feeling of nostalgia in me. Although I was very disappointed by how uninspiring the Italian National Tourist Board had managed to make their booth, I very much enjoyed seeing some flyers advertising places I’ve visited this summer.
The feeling of nostalgia was even stronger at the Malta booth. It’s been more than a decade since I went on a trip to Malta with my parents and brother. It was my first time on a plane, but that was far from the only thing that made it a memorable trip. During the week we stayed in this incredible little country, we managed to see nearly all of it, including the stunning second island Gozo. Every time I see a picture of Malta, I find myself wanting to go back there and see it all again.
Travel inspiration: Trans Siberian Railway
Among the many things at the Vakantiebeurs that inspired me, a trip on the Trans Siberian Railway isn’t exactly a new idea for me. I really want to incorporate this legendary train journey into my trip to Hong Kong; a trip I’ve been dreaming of for years now. I think an important first step has been made yesterday. I have started to see this trip as a serious plan rather than a daydream. I’ve learnt new things about when to go and what to look out for. I feel like I can begin to do some more serious research now. I don’t yet know when it’ll be, but this trip is going to happen.
Before I start to ramble on about all the countries I want to visit and all the journeys I want to go on, let’s turn back to the subject. Although I must admit I was disappointed by the complete lack of presence from certain countries – I couldn’t find Hungary, and had to disappoint a colleague who’d asked me to get him some information on Dubai – I’m glad I made the trip to Utrecht, and I’d tell anyone to do the same. You’ve got until Sunday to take a day off from the dreary Dutch winter and pretend it’s summer at the Vakantiebeurs! Whether you want to get inspired by new destinations, experience the summer vibes or even book your summer holiday on the spot, this event is well worth your time.