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Watson powers up Trails of Indochina for next stage of growth
Raini Hamdi, Zurich, September 1, 2015

NEW CEO of Trails of Indochina (TOI) John Watson has made a slew of new hires and is consolidating the DMC’s three office locations in Ho Chi Minh City into one this month as part of his strategy to transit the company into the next stage of growth.


Watson, who took charge last April, said he is taking TOI to the next level by tapping new source markets, expanding the DMC’s coverage in the region, raising the quality of operational service to clients, launching new products and embarking on new technological developments.


New senior management appointments include Dan Walsh as vice president North America, Lindy Andrews as director of sales and marketing for Australia and Vincent Esnoul as marketing communications manager.


Watson said: “TOI has always been very strong in North America and Spanish-speaking markets – that will continue. We have, however, been under-performing in some key European markets and will rectify this. We also see other markets such as Africa as a growing source and recently entered into a partnership in Kenya.


“We haven't put down any firm expectations of passenger numbers from 'new' markets at this stage. Our strategy is to rifle-shot high quality B2B partners around the globe and progress slowly but surely.”


To service an anticipated growth of passenger numbers, new country managers will be introduced in two integral operational destinations: Helmut Krause starts his role as country manager Thailand this month, while William Meyrick has been appointed as country manager Cambodia. Moira Lategan has joined as inside sales and reservations manager.


On expanding TOI’s DMC coverage in the region, Thailand remains a destination with “enormous potential” despite the recent bomb blast, he reckoned. TOI has been operating in Thailand since 2007 “but we are relatively small there and will expand as that is what our customers are asking us to do”.


TOI recently opened a new office in Chiang Mai in response to the demand.


“Having lived and worked through the tsunami and several coups, I know how very resilient Thai tourism is. So, recent events have not changed our plans in any way,” said Watson, who was former CEO of Diethelm Travel Group.


TOI has over 180 staff who will operate from one central flagship office from this month. The company has also invested in a new fleet of vehicles due for delivery by November, along with the development of training programmes for staff and guides.


In the fourth quarter, TOI plans XML feeds to key B2B partner sites, along with a new collection of products “to reinforce the brand’s positioning as a provider of high-end experiences to agencies and their clients worldwide”, said Watson.

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