FORMER Diethelm Travel Group CEO, Richard Brouwer, is joining Khiri Travel as CEO effective January 4 as founder Willem Niemeijer steps up as chairman of Khiri Travel and Khiri Travel Group.
The appointment is in line with aspirations to double the size of Khiri Travel in five years, according to Brouwer in an interview with TTG Asia e-Daily.
“Khiri Travel is extremely well-organised at the back of the house – systems, staff, product, IT, etc – thanks to Willem’s vision in putting that in order so that we are now ready to go for further growth,” said Brouwer.
Khiri Travel is the main pillar of Khiri Travel Group, which has other ventures including the outbound travel company in Thailand, Khiri Voyages, and a non-profit foundation, Khiri Reach. Niemeijer is expected to further develop these and other ventures within the group.
Niemeijer said: “Richard’s appointment is a major statement by Khiri Travel. It underscores Khiri Travel’s ambition to grow while staying true to its commitment to responsible tourism.
“Under Richard’s leadership, Khiri Travel’s mission and vision will remain the same – to be the best DMC in Asia and the champion of the triple bottomline: people, planet and profit.”
Operating in eight countries with some 180 staff today, Khiri Travel makes its mark in responsible tourism, offering specialised inbound tours to key tour operators in Western Europe and the US. Brouwer said this niche was its key advantage, when asked how he planned to double the size of the company.
“Khiri is extremely deep into the product; it is able to give people experiences and this is what people want today. Even the general tour operators have been complaining that there aren’t enough innovative products – this has been their constant refrain. Willem is fantastic in product development, it is now a question of us getting a foot in more doors and talking to the right person in the company,” said Brouwer.
Brouwer brings to Khiri a regional and global network of contacts and over 25 years of professional experience in the travel industry. He was COO of Diethelm Travel, the largest DMC in South-east Asia, for six years to 2012, before taking on the role of CEO from 2012 to 2015. Prior to joining Diethelm Travel in 2000, he had an 11-year executive career at Amari Hotels and Resorts as corporate director sales & marketing and group marketing manager.
Said Brouwer: “I have admired Khiri Travel’s achievements in responsible tourism over the last few years. I aim to work closely with the Khiri Travel country teams to help them grow their business. We will do it by staying true to Khiri Travel’s responsible travel commitment and heritage.”