Africa Travel Week

We need to take care of each other

Meet Astrid Schalken, Senior Business Development Manager of Bookunited. When she was 15, she went on holiday with her parents and immediately knew that she wanted to learn more languages, live abroad and travel when she got older. And, that’s exactly what she did after going on to study tourism at university two years later and has never looked back.

What kind of traveller are you?

I am organised and not ‘go with the flow’. traveller. With that said, I do change something or do something on the spot, but I need to know where my bed is that night!

Tell us about one of your most memorable trips?

I have travelled for more than 25 years and have been to many beautiful places. I always prefer nature to cities, so from safaris to mountains, jungles to secluded beaches, you can count me in! Together with good local food, a nice glass (or bottle) of wine and of course good company the world is amazing.

How confident are you that the travel and tourism industry in Africa will survive and prosper over the next 2-3 years?

I am confident tourism will come back. It may come back slowly, it may look different and perhaps be more expensive than before. A vaccine is going to be very important.   

What do we need to do to make sure that happens?

We need to take care of each other and the environment.  

Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you…

  • Like to see: Smiling local people in a nice far-away country. 
  • Like to taste: A local dish, in a market, prepared by a local old woman.
  • Like to feel: The rain in a nice, warm and humid country. 
  • Like to hear: The sound of wildlife in the middle of the night.
  • Like to smell: The air, as I step out of the plane (or airport if the plane is docked at an air bridge).


Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.