Travel Companies Need to Adapt to the New Face of Travel: Interview with Victoria Vanegas
The coronavirus pandemic has caused seismic changed in the global economic architecture, and the travel industry has been at the forefront of it. There is no other industry that has been crippled by the current health crisis as much as travel. These global events have led thousands of travel companies across the world to consolidation, liquidation, or adoption of new technologies.
Our cooperative was among the first one to adopt a new technology and started providing virtual experiences. But as Victoria Vanegas, founder of Norditours who has joined our cooperative, explains in this interview, companies must do more than just add another type of products to their portfolios. We invite you to read our discussion about the future of the travel industry.
Hello, Victoria. Please, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where I studied, received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and worked in a bank as credit analyst. I went to Plymouth in the UK to study my Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). After receiving my degree, I moved to Brentwood and worked in an insurance company.
After 5 years in the UK, I moved with my Norwegian husband to Norway, where I lived and worked in Oslo for 4 years. I worked on an IT project with Spain and at the Colombian embassy in Oslo. We got a job offer in Bahrain and moved there, where I worked at an international investment bank. During the Arab spring in 2011, we returned to Norway; I decided to completely change my career and enrolled in the Oslo guide course of the Oslo Guide Association. Since then, I have been hosting tours and guiding visitors to Oslo – an activity I enjoy very much. I started my own company, Norditours to design and create experiences in Norway.
And did you have any chance to work with/for travel companies before joining our cooperative?
Yes, I have worked with my own company, Norditours.
How did you come to the decision to join the cooperative? What prompted you to take such a decision?
In the current state of the global economy and the tourism industry heavily affected by closed borders during the pandemic, I came to the conclusion that it is better to join forces and stand together than to chase the same customers and divide the market.
How do you see your role in the cooperative and what are the areas you best specialize in? What would you be passionate to do in the company?
I am passionate about business development and tour design. I am also a certified guide and leader of the guiding course in Oslo.
And what do you think about the company’s current involvement in creating virtual experiences? Do you think this is a service that is going to take off and become popular?
I think it is the right kind of experiences to be focusing on at this time of low tourism. I definitively think that we have learnt new ways of doing things by optimizing the technology. I do believe this new way of experiencing places is here to stay, as an alternative to travel. But, I also believe that we will experience an explosion of travel, when we manage to control the infection. A new light is brought to ensuring passengers’ safety with the vaccine certification. Therefore, we need to prepare for the comeback of tourism and not only focus on digital, but also offer products that will appeal to the new traveler, who seeks more private and unique experiences.
What are your plans for the future? How do you think the company will evolve?
All travel companies will need to adapt to the new face of travel. A face in which consumers will be demanding a different kind of products. Mass tourism tends to be less appealing, people are inclined to less crowded, more natural and unique experiences that leave little or no print on the environment. We need to re-create our products and re-define our audiences.
Maybe you want to add something else or tell something to our readers?
I look forward to working together for a better and more sustainable future for all.