Travel with Coby van Dongen – Commercial director of De Jong Intra Vakanties
NS International travels together with a number of business travellers. How do these travellers spend their travel time and what does travelling mean to them? This episode, we travel with the commercial director of De Jong Intra Vakanties, Coby van Dongen.
Coby, where are we going today?
"We're going to London because I'm going to sign a hotel contract with a supplier. I regularly have to go to London, Paris, Berlin and Cologne for tourist fairs and contract meetings. I like taking the train to get there. I make a conscious choice for the train. As a travel company, we set an example and encourage our customers to travel consciously. I believe that we all have a part to play in caring for the environment. If you know that on average CO2 emissions by train are 30 kilos and the same distance by plane is no less than 154 kilos, then, of course, the choice is simple.”
What does travelling mean to you?
"A lot. And that goes back to my youth. As a farmer's daughter, during the holidays, I was always dependent on friends who came to play on the farm. We never went on holiday. My father used to say: 'It's a year-long holiday for you.' So, I was often alone and didn't know what travelling and holidays were.
"My friends who did go on holiday always came back with exciting stories. I became inquisitive and thought: I want to do something with that later when I grow up. Then I saw an ad for a holiday worker at De Jong Intra Vakanties. I began working there at a young age and am still there today. What I like about travelling is discovering other cultures and environments. You literally look beyond your horizon; it enriches you as a human being."
"I want to use my time wisely, so travelling by train is ideal for me."
Why choose to travel by train?
"Because it's an ideal time to work. I'm often travelling with colleagues; we can easily have a meeting. Travel time becomes work time. So, you can use your time very efficiently; I like that. You also arrive in the heart of the city. Of course, you can't travel everywhere by train, but for trips of less than 700 km, I think, it's the best travel option there is. Besides that, there's no hassle. You don't, for example, have to worry about the amount of liquids you may bring.”
Do you do different activities on the outbound journey compared to the return journey?
“Yes, although it's mainly because of the times I travel. When I return from a fair late in the evening, my colleagues and I evaluate the day together. The other day I returned to Amersfoort around 23:00 hrs. Then, on the way back, I had a lovely meal and a glass of wine to relax. The outbound journey often starts in the morning, and I work and drink a cup of coffee or tea.
What characterises you as a traveller?
"I'm an efficient traveller. Working, catching up, holding meetings and occasionally relaxing. I want to use my time wisely, so travelling by train is ideal for me.
On the way to that business meeting abroad, you don't have to do anything. But in our comfortable high-speed trains, you could do anything.