This summer has shown that we can travel again. Even though there were still some restrictions, our tours could go ahead and the guests were enthusiastic. At the moment everything looks like we can pull out all the stops in our 2022 season. We’re all really looking forward to the new season!
So what can you expect at Boat Bike Tours next year? In this interview, our company boss Laurens Winkel reveals our new plans!
The travel program for 2022 is ready. What’s new at Boat Bike Tours?
We have put together a great program for 2022. To do this, we have further improved our existing tours and worked on some new projects. There are two new ships in our fleet, so our Netherlands program will become even more well-rounded. And in 2022 we’re starting our new France trip through the north of Burgundy.
Is the situation different now from last year?
Yes, it is. The uniform travel rules in the EU that have been in place since the summer are working well. That creates trust. That is why we can already see that people are taking that leap to plan their vacations longer-term and to book further in advance. Last year we had hardly any bookings at this time of year. Now the situation looks completely different: because there are still some guests who have rebooked their voyages for 2022, some of our tours are almost sold out already. So if you really want to be sure that you can go on your dream trip, you should think about making a reservation soon!
There are two new additions to the Boat Bike Tours fleet. Can you tell a little more about them?
Yes, there are two modern and generously-built ships: the De Willemstad and the Poseidon. By our standards, both are rather larger ships with space for 96 passengers. The Willemstad is a particularly spacious and wide ship. She has large cabins and there is also plenty of space in the common areas. Both ships have modern furnishings in a classic style and offer high-quality accommodations. They make a great addition to our fleet, sailing on the North and South Holland tours. Together with the Hansetour, these are our most important routes through the Netherlands.
Why are these three tours the most important routes in the Netherlands?
Because the guests get to know a different side of the Netherlands on each of the three routes. The Northern Tour focuses on nature, sea, beach, authentic fishing villages and historic port cities. On the southern route you can see everything that belongs to the typical Dutch culture and landscape: tulips, windmills and cities, architecture and art from the Golden Age. And the Historic Hanseatic Cities route, which, by the way, is the favorite route of our tour leaders, is about the rather unknown sides of the Netherlands: the old Hanseatic cities, the heather landscapes and forests of the Veluwe and the beautiful IJssel valley. These routes can also be combined very well, for anyone who wants to get to know several aspects of the Netherlands!
And what about the new trip in France?
We assume that, thanks to the standardized European rules, we will be able to fully carry out our trips to France next year. Because of the pandemic, many trips outside of the Netherlands were on hold for the past two years. A new addition to our France program is the tour between Moret-sur-Loing and Auxerre through the north of Burgundy. It’s a real pleasure: both in terms of landscape and culinary delights! We have two lovely little ships lined up to run this premium route, with a maximum of 24 passengers each.
Behind the scenes, Boat Bike Tours has also campaigned for more sustainability. What did you achieve?
Sustainability is an important topic for Boat Bike Tours. We have worked intensively on this over the past few years and implemented some decisive steps: our trips have been completely climate-neutral since the 2021 season. To do this, we have reduced our ecological footprint as much as possible. In order to offset the remaining CO2 emissions, we started a foresting project in Africa this year together with the non-profit organization Justdiggit, in which 6800 hectares of forest area are being reforested.
The corona pandemic has made life difficult for the travel industry and also for Boat Bike Tours. How do you see the future?
I’m very optimistic! On the one hand, at Boat Bike Tours we all worked super hard to make our trips possible despite all the obstacles. That’s why I’m very proud of my team and the crews on board. At the end of this season, the feeling remains that we have succeeded against all odds. We’re still here!
On the other hand, our travel concept fits perfectly with current travel trends. Due to Corona, the tourism industry is moving away from mass tourism. We have always been geared towards small groups, personal trust, individual experiences and sustainability. That’s why I see the future positively!