A Dutch duo has launched a new DMC in South-east Asia on Tuesday (May 5) – rebranded from Asia DMC Thailand – and opened offices in two new destinations, Vietnam and Myanmar.
The brainchild of tourism industry veterans André van der Marck and Gerben Bloemendaal, Travel Exclusive Asia has offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Saigon and Yangon.
Travel Exclusive Asia offers tailor-made journeys in Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar – with more countries to follow soon, according to van der Marck.
“This was the perfect time for both of us to really focus on this project, which was in the making since 3Q last year, and to launch now is a positive, impactful sign that we will be ready as your partner once business comes back, which it surely will,” stated van der Marck.
Previously the managing director of Asia DMC Myanmar, Bloemendaal opened Travel Exclusive Asia’s Vietnam and Myanmar offices in March 2020.
Van der Marck, already with a longstanding hospitality career under his belt, partnered Asia DMC to open his own DMC in Thailand in 2016. By mid-2019, he completed a successful management buy-out to operate under the Asia DMC brand, leading up to Travel Exclusive Asia’s debut.
Both van der Marck and Bloemendaal, who have each spent over two decades working the South-east Asian scene, saw a gap that they could plug in the world of DMCs, as well as a current base of partners that they could build on.
“Travel Exclusive Asia is all about creating meaningful, bespoke and very different journeys in each of our destinations, and in doing so, serve our customers in a reliable, fast and trustworthy fashion,” van der Marck shared.
“(We felt) real honesty to our partners was missing; (it’s our desire to really serve the B2B market) and not play the B2C game behind the scenes, to dare to partner with different people and industries.”
In addition, Bloemendaal added: “Sustainability and giving back to the planet is a must nowadays, and we will be doing this in very innovative ways.”
One such example is their partnership with Netherlands-based, purpose-driven travel social enterprise Local Happinez, which strives to foster cultural interactions and genuine discussions between travellers and local communities, and ensure benefits for all locals involved.
All products will be sourced by the Travel Exclusive Asia team and tried before launching, with the goal of creating different, memorable journeys for all guests that truly allow them to experience a destination.
Although they don’t foresee any business in 2020 – van der Marck stated they expect to grow from 2021 onwards – they retain an optimistic outlook. “For now, there is no MICE and the ‘new normal’ for MICE is the way forward. We are close to having found all the answers on that.”
Sharing that it was back to business for them, van der Marck added: “We were not in crisis at all (from the pandemic), but doing extremely well. So we went ahead and sped up our launch. (We want to) do it now, do it well and be ready when the crisis is over.”