Name: Sherly Handjojo
Position title: Marketing Manager
Company name: Tourism Authority of Thailand
When and why did you join the industry?
I started as a Marketing Executive working for a Retail Travel Agent in Jakarta, back in 2004. I managed and executed marketing and advertising plans, travel expos and incentive programs.
Travel has always been one of the things I am interested in. As I get into it, I become more and more passionate.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety of people I meet and interact with each day, from travel professionals, media, government bodies to the public. It’s truly invaluable. Each day I learn something new. What’s more, this job brings me the opportunity to experience one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Thailand.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Representing the gorgeous land of smiles, Thailand.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
My Dad, I was brought up in a humble family overseas. My Dad has always been in ‘travel’ since I was very young. He started off as a one-man-show airport transfer company. As his network expanded, he finally built his own Travel Agency. His determination and hard work are extremely inspiring.
Another one is Sir Richard Branson. He always set his bar so high, even if he didn’t achieve his own target, he will end UP there, very high above most people. He is someone who thinks outside the box.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
We may be a small team in the Sydney office, but our Director (Khun Lek) is a very switched on, and a strong leader. She lifts up the team’s dynamics. Sounds cliché but it’s true; everyone helps each other out.
We believe in responsible, sustainable and community tourism. We support the responsible operators, such as the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project in Phuket http://www.gibbonproject.org/ and Aleenta’s project for regeneration of damaged coral reefs, turtle conservation, and educating communities on how to protect their natural resources http://www.purebluefoundation.com
We believe in giving back to the community, and support charity organisations such as “Hands across the water”. It is an Australian, New Zealand and Thai charity that gives at-risk Thai children and their communities a helping hand for the long term.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Many little islands in Thailand I would love to experience, such as Koh Lipe, Koh Wai, Koh Mak, Koh Yao Yai, Koh Sukorn.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Bad – Getting lost in Xi An train station (China)
Good – Swimming in the crystal clear blue turquoise water of Miang Island (Island no.4 in the Similan Islands).
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
My phone, swimsuits and money.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
My favourite Aussie celebrity – Kyle Sandilands. I love his raw comments and sense of humour. Zip lining in Chiang Mai would probably be fun with Kyle.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
A lot more people can afford travel now. Travel has become one of life’s necessities. While traditional ways of travel are still in demand (comfortable hotels and mainstream attractions); more travellers want to have meaningful experiences at the destinations. These personal experiences are something unique and unforgettable. They will make these travellers want to come back to the destination. Small group tour is one way to go.