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Going on a self-made trip

“I discovered my passion during this course,” says tourism student Ryan Bakker with a big smile. “After I graduate, I want to set up my own incentive travel agency.” Ryan is the lucky winner of the Incentive & Event Travel course. She now gets to go on the trip she created herself. 

Generally speaking, incentive trips are professional group trips. Think of, for example, a motivation trip, a staff trip or an anniversary trip. All first-year students of International Tourism Management developed one of those trips, usually as part of a group. Ryan Bakker (Tio Eindhoven) came up with a four-day trip to Bilbao that is all about art. It includes an evening visit to the Guggenheim Museum and an art route through the woods. It also delves into the art of wine tasting.

Source of inspiration

“I love the fine arts, I completed the academy of performing arts and once acted in a film.” Ryan explains. Therefore, choosing a theme for her trip was easy. “I am mostly overcome with emotion,” she says right after the award ceremony. “I am so surprised to have won! All participants were so good, they really inspired me. I loved this entire project. I now know what I want to do with my career: set up my own incentive travel agency.”

Higher level of knowledge

Ryan not only won the finale of Incentive & Event Travel, she also managed to earn a spot in the Reiswerk Student Challenge (Travel Student Challenge) in Macedonia. “I met a lot of the major players in the travel industry,” she says excitedly. “I also found out that Tio’s level of knowledge is definitely solid! All students from other schools were in their final year. I am only a second-year student and I have more knowledge than some of the older students!”


The jury, made up of Elke Kuipers (ITG Companies), Joke Maassen (Travel Proof) and Pieter Melieste (LeisureReps) had to make a tough call, but they eventually selected Ryan as the clear winner. “Pay close attention to our advice,” Elke Kuipers emphasised when she handed Ryan the cheque. “That will make your trip even better!”

“Coming home" to Tio

The student was convinced as soon as she attended one of Tio’s open days with her parents. “The small-scale nature of the place, the hospitality of the students and lecturers – I felt very welcome here. It felt like coming home. I did visit several other schools, but my mind was pretty much made up. People sometimes ask why I chose a private education, but I simply feel at home at Tio. I pay for my education myself. I looked into the matter beforehand and discussed everything with my parents. DUO allows you to take out an extra loan for the tuition fee. After my studies, I will have 35 years to pay off the loan and there is even a tax deduction. My tip for students who are still in doubt would be not to worry about the finances – there is always a solution.”

Having a great time in Eindhoven

Ryan attends Tio’s location in Eindhoven. “It is great here,” she says. “Everyone knows you. The location manager always greets everyone. She is awesome, by the way. She can help you with anything. That level of personal contact, even with lecturers, is what makes studying at Tio so remarkable. Everyone is genuinely interested in you and everyone supports each other. It more than makes up for my daily ninety-minute trip from Landgraaf to Tio!”

Follow Ryan on LinkedIn